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Health Secretary to call for a million NHS volunteers this winterMEERI News

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Therese Coffey will call for a million volunteers to help strengthen the NHS and social care this winter.

The Health Secretary will outline plans tomorrow to make it easier to book GP appointments, warning that the colder months will be “difficult”.

She wants to ensure that patients who need an appointment can get one within two weeks — and that those with the most urgent needs are seen the same day.

The Deputy Prime Minister will ask the public to do their bit as part of a “national effort” to support the NHS and social care.

The government hopes the one million volunteers who stepped up to support the NHS during the pandemic will step up again.

HuffPost UK has asked the Department of Health for details on what the volunteers will be asked to do.

The government’s plans also include changing funding rules to recruit extra support staff so GPs can focus on treating patients – freeing up more than one million visits per year.

They will also improve the phone system to make it easier for patients to contact their GP surgeries and publish appointment data at practice level.

Pharmacies will be asked to help ease pressure on GPs by supplying other medicines such as contraception without a doctor’s prescription.

The DfH said it could free up two million general practice visits a year and take referrals from emergency care for minor ailments such as coughs, headaches or sore throats.

Coffee would say: “Our scheme will make it easier for patients to get a general practice appointment and we will work tirelessly to deliver this as well as supporting our hardworking GP teams.

“We know this winter will be tough and this is the first step in our work to strengthen our valuable NHS and social care services so people can get the care they need.”

Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, said: “I know how much patients value timely, convenient access to GPs and primary care, the front door to the NHS, so we are introducing new roles to better meet patients. We are continuing to make improvements including ‘ Requirements and new technology to make contacting your local surgery easier.


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