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An NHS programme, which has seen GP practices free up more than half a million hours of time for patients in the last year, is to be rolled out further.
The Time for Care programme sees GP surgeries use new ways of working, like letting patients book appointments sooner, cutting paperwork and offering faster access to different specialist health professionals.
It is now being rolled out across the country and has been extended for three years, with the aim of covering three quarters of GP practices by 2022.
The latest results from the programme show practices around the country have freed up 205,157 clinical hours and 330,096 administration hours in the past year.
The saving of 205,00 clinical hours is the equivalent of 1.23 million GP appointments of 10 minutes each. At an average of £30 an appointment, that represents close to £40 million in time saved. If the same number of clinical hours saved are achieved over the next three years, it would represent around 3.7 million GP appointments – or around £110 million in terms of appointment time saved.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s Medical Director for Primary Care and a south-east London GP said: “This programme has had significant benefits for patients and GPs alike, freeing up doctors’ time and NHS resources to ensure people get the care they need as quickly as possible, as part of our Long Term Plan for the health service.
“GP services will continue to be at the heart of our health service, and it makes sense to invest for another three years in a programme that is delivering so much for patients while helping us to be more efficient.”
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