Improving access to general practice

20 March 2024

In response to consistent feedback from patients that they struggle to get an appointment with their GP, NHS North West London is looking to improve access to general practice.

This will involve working with practices, primary care networks* and patients to develop proposals to improve access in their area.

NHS North West London is not imposing a top-down solution or a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Dr Genevieve Small. Medical Director, Primary Care for NHS North West London, said:

“Patients frequently tell us that they can’t get a timely GP appointment. GPs are seeing more patients than ever – there are over 1.4 million appointments every month in North West London – but it is clear that many patients’ needs are not being met.

“We have heard from patients and GPs who were worried that everything was going to change in April. That is not the case: we will be working with patients and GPs over the next year and we’re keen to hear their ideas for improving access to primary care, which is the issue our patients and residents most often raise with us. Our aim is to develop plans to gradually improve access in each area.

“Our priority is that patients have timely access to high quality care. Whatever proposals are developed, all clinical decisions will continue to be made by clinicians. Patients who need to see their GP will continue to do so. “We have been working with GPs and patients for over a year and will now accelerate this work to develop positive solutions in each area of North West London.”

An approach to improving access which was co-designed by NHS North West London and ten primary care networks (PCNs) has been adopted in some areas. This involves the creation of ‘same day access hubs’ made up of GPs, pharmacists, nurses, other clinicians and non-medical staff to increase the numbers of patients being seen on the same day.

While feedback from the early adopters and patients has been positive, we are not yet in a position to evaluate this work, as it only started late in 2023. NHS North West London and national funding is available for PCNs who wish to adopt this approach after discussion with their patients, though we are also open to alternative proposals to increase access.

NHS North West London initially offered an opportunity for all our practices to participate in this initiative from April 2024, with financial support to make changes. Over the last couple of weeks, we have heard a number of concerns from a few practices and their patients and so have responded to that by offering those practices more time to co-design their local approach with patients.



1. Please see stakeholder briefing

*Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are groups of GP practices working together and with other professionals such as pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists and social care services to join up care for patients and residents in their area.

Accessibility tools

Return to header