Workload in general practice

Ensuring patient safety through control of workload and demand management in general practice | The British Medical Association (BMA)


General practice in England has seen consultation rates soar by nearly 14 per cent between 2007 and 2014, while the 12 months between 2016-17 saw the total number of full-time equivalent GPs fall by 3.4 per cent.

The BMA suggest that this increase in workload is because of growing patient need (complex multi-morbidity) as well as a result of the widespread recruitment and retention crisis and a lack of long-term investment in general practice. It is argued that the issue of GP workload must be addressed urgently.

This document seeks to address the current challenges in primary care.  It sets out a strategy aimed at improving safety and quality of patient care by recommending the development of agreed workload limits at a local level supported by national guidance.

Full document: Workload Control in General Practice. Ensuring Patient Safety Through Demand Management

Volunteering in general practice

Volunteering in general practice: Opportunities and insights | The Kings Fund 


The King’s Fund has published ‘Volunteering in general practice: opportunities and insights‘.  This paper explores how volunteers can provide support for the role of general practice, and the opportunities for organisations that currently support volunteering to work more closely with general practice.

Publication overview:

  • Interest is growing in the contribution that volunteering can make in health and social care. This paper builds on our previous work, which examined volunteering in hospitals, to explore ways in which volunteers are involved with, and are contributing to, general practice.
  • The authors identify four approaches to supporting volunteering in general practice: use of volunteers to enable general practice to carry out its activities; organisations using volunteer support that were located within general practice premises; social prescribing; and community-centred general practices.
  • 10 case studies are explored, which demonstrate that approaches to supporting volunteering in general practice provide an opportunity for practices to engage beyond their traditional boundaries, creating an interface with voluntary and community sector organisations and with the wider community.
  • The practice examples highlight the importance of partnership work to support and sustain volunteering, the different design and resource considerations in choosing an appropriate approach, the support and management requirements for volunteers and strategic factors that influence success and sustainability.

Full document:   Volunteering in general practice: opportunities and insights.

Getting the best out of general practice

The Nuffield Trust has published Divided we fall: getting the best out of general practice.  This report examines the effects of recent policy to segment general practice into different types of service tailored to the needs of different patients. It looks at the tensions between this new approach and the traditional GP role of ‘medical generalism’ in a service with constrained resources and argues that if medical generalism is undermined, the value that general practice achieves for the NHS will reduce.

Sexual health services

The Royal of General Practitioners has responded to the new sexual health campaign from Public Health England by publishing Time to Act.

This report highlights that fragmented commissioning practices mean that GPs are increasingly unable to direct patients to the most appropriate sexual health services for their needs, and GPs are not being given adequate training to administer all different types of contraception thgenerat might benefit patients.

Full report available here

Commissioning primary care services

NHS England has updated the Primary medical care policy and guidance manual to reflect the changing landscape in primary care co-commissioning.   This document provides commissioners of primary care services the context, information and tools to safely commission and contract manage primary medical care contracts.

The document is split into four sections:

Part A – Excellent Commissioning and Partnership Working

Part B – General Contract Management

Part C – When things go wrong

Part D – General