NHS England operational planning and guidance summary 2024/25

Key Summary Points for General Practice


  • Improve the experience of access to primary care, including by supporting general practice to ensure that everyone who needs an appointment with their GP practice gets one within 2 weeks and those who contact their practice urgently are assessed the same or the next day according to clinical need.


  • Improve patients’ experience of choice at the point of referral from primary care.


  • Establish an approach to ensure referrals to secondary care are appropriate, including through increased use of advice and guidance (A&G).


  • Expand patient choice at the point of referral, with patients offered a choice of 5 providers where appropriate, actively encouraging access to non-local NHS providers or the independent sector where this can shorten wait times for patients (measured by patient survey).


  • Reduce inequalities by working towards 75% of people with severe mental illness receiving a full annual physical health check, with at least 60% receiving one by March 2025.


  • Ensure 75% of people aged 14 and over on GP learning disability registers receive an annual health check in the year to 31 March 2025.


  • Increase the % of patients with hypertension treated according to NICE guidance to 80% by March 2025.


  • Increase the percentage of patients aged 25–84 years with a CVD risk score greater than 20% on lipid-lowering therapies to 65% by March 2025.


  • Increase vaccination uptake for children and young people.


  • Establish and develop at least one women’s health hub in every ICB by December 2024.


  • Empower patients, including encouraging the use of community pharmacies for lower acuity and common conditions through increasing uptake of the new Pharmacy First service, and expanded blood pressure and oral contraception services.


  • Implement Modern General Practice Access, including supporting practices to ensure people can more easily contact their GP practice through the use of digital tools to enhance digital access, information gathering, navigation, prioritisation and practice allocation of appointments, cloud-based telephony and the utilisation of its functionality, including call-back.


  • Build primary care capacity, including establishing a full understanding of demand and capacity in primary care.


  • Streamline the patient pathway by improving the interface between primary and secondary care. All trusts are expected to deliver on 4 key areas, onward referrals, complete care (fit notes and discharge letters), call and recall, and clear points of contact. Every trust should have a designated lead for the primary–secondary care interface.


  • Expand GP direct access to diagnostic centres, ensuring GPs do not need to refer patients to secondary care because they cannot access core diagnostics directly.


  • Join up care closer to home including through integrated neighbourhood teams and place-based arrangements with local authorities and other system partners.


  • As a step to building integrated neighbourhood teams and to support the integration of primary care and community services, systems should improve the alignment of relevant community services to the primary care network footprint. The initial focus should be on delivering proactive care to the most complex and vulnerable patients with the aim of reducing avoidable exacerbations of ill health and improving the quality of care for older people. This includes continuing to deliver proactive support for people living in care homes, in line with the latest enhanced health in care homes guidance.


  • Bring together multidisciplinary teams to create a single point of access to provide an integrated care co-ordination (ICC) service. Where possible ICCs should provide health and social care professionals with access to urgent care services.  ICCs will support integrated neighbourhood teams to manage the escalation of patients with urgent and complex needs at home.  There should be clear pathways from 111, 999 and other services into each ICC, and ambulance crews should be supported

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