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GP contract will fund expansion of primary care team by over 20,000

NHS England will fund 22,000 additional practice staff – including pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing workers – by 2023/24.

The announcement comes as the BMA secured today a new five-year contractual agreement with NHS England for GP services across the country.

They will be employed as part of primary care networks, which will receive 70% recurrent funding for physiotherapists, physician associates, clinical pharmacists and community paramedics and 100% funding for social prescribers.

The funding will begin this year for social prescribers and pharmacists, and this will include those pharmacists already appointed by networks from previous schemes.

Physios and physician associates will be funded from 2020, while paramedics will be funded from 2021, with the intention of expanding the primary care team by more than 20,000 staff members by 2023.

Funding increases will also see an increase in the number of practice nurses coming into primary care.

The changes are part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s vision for primary care, with GP practices working together to form primary care networks by July 2019 that cover 30,000-50,000 patients.

According to NHS England, wider teams in practices are likely to ‘improve patient experience, ensuring they are seen by the correct professional at the right time’.

NHS England said that the increased workforce will add to the 5,000 additional staff that have been recruited in practices over the last four years.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘We welcome the focus on collaborative working with a range of highly-skilled members of the GP team, to support our work and free up our time to deliver care to patients who need our expertise – as well as with other practices in the same locality.’