Last reviewed 23 November 2021

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) has launched an inquiry into the future of NHS general practice to examine the key challenges facing the sector over the next five years as well as the biggest current and ongoing barriers to access.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is to lead the inquiry, said that general practice was “in crisis” and that this would be “one of our most important inquiries of the coming year”.

The inquiry will explore specific issues including regional variation in general practice and the general practice workload, bureaucracy and burnout, and improving morale.

The call for evidence, which is open until 14 December, looks to understand the challenges for general practice including the impact of changes introduced during the pandemic such as online or virtual consultations, barriers to accessing services, and the extent to which the Government and NHS England’s plans will address these issues.

The MPs will also look at how to make general practice more sustainable in the long term, including the sustainability of the traditional partnership model, prioritisation of integrated care, the move towards salaried GP posts, whether current GP contracting and payment structures support “proactive, personalised, coordinated and integrated” care, and whether primary care networks (PCNs) have improved this kind of care and reduced the administrative burden on GPs.

This comes as the British Medical Association (BMA) launched its own review into the lessons learnt from the pandemic to understand the UK’s high death toll, and the impact on doctors and the NHS. The BMA’s review will focus on:

  • how well GPs and other healthcare workers were protected from Covid-19

  • the impact on GPs and other healthcare workers

  • delivery of healthcare

  • how effective the public health response was

  • the impact on the NHS wider impacts of the pandemic on population health and health inequalities.

Initial surveys here, will run until 8 December.