Access to Primary Care Resources



These resources have been collated to ensure policy, research and good practice on access to primary care and general practice is easily available to practices and PCNs. 

View and download this information as a PDF.


General Access Policy and Guidance 

NHS England 

Next Steps for integrating primary care: Fuller stocktake report by Dr. Claire Fuller, 2022. 

The Fuller Stocktake notes that whereas many patients with chronic, long-term conditions require continuity of care, many patients are happy to be seen by any appropriate clinician as long as they can be seen quickly, and that there is a growing appetite for accessing care digitally.  

The report puts forward recommendations for integrated urgent care teams in every neighbourhood, and connecting up wider urgent care services such as general practice, urgent treatment centres, out-of-hours, urgent community response services, home visiting, community pharmacy and NHS111. 

See ‘Delivering the change our patients and staff want and need: improving same-day access for urgent care’ on pages 10-12. 


Enhanced Access to General Practice services through the network contract DES – Frequently asked questions, NHS England, 2022. 

FAQs for PCNs on the requirements for provision of Enhanced Access, including 

  • What the Enhanced Access service is and how PCNs should implement it 
  • Contracting 
  • Commissioners 
  • Subcontracting 
  • Finance 
  • Digital requirements for enhanced access 
  • What support is available for PCNs 
  • Skill mix: what GP cover is required and how ARRS roles can be used 


NHS England business plan for 2022/2023: Chapter 5: Improve access to primary care, NHS England, 2022. 

NHS England commitments for 2022/23 aiming to improve access to primary care, relating to: 

  • Improving access to general practice 
  • The Enhanced Access service delivered by PCNs 
  • Recruitment and retention of the primary care workforce 
  • Personalised care 
  • Community pharmacy 
  • Community dentistry  
  • Community services e.g. hospital at home 


Supporting general practice, primary care networks and their teams through winter and beyond, NHS England, 2022. 

Details of NHS England’s updates to policy and specifications to support primary care over winter 2022/23, including: 

  • An ICB framework for supporting general practice including lines of enquiry to assess where immediate investment support may be required 
  • Immediate changes to the Network Contract DES 
  • Reducing bureaucracy and primary/secondary care interface 
  • System development funding for primary care 
  • Scoping for any additional capital funding for primary care during 22/23 
  • Further support for general practice and PCNs during winter 22/23 


Care Quality Commission 

CQC Information for providers: GP mythbuster 55: Opening hours, CQC, 2022 

What the CQC inspects when they consider access to appointments: 

  • What ‘core hours’ means and what must be provided during core hours 
  • Contractual requirements 
  • How responsiveness to patient needs is assessed 
  • Providing alternative access to care when practices are closed 


CQC Information for providers: GP mythbuster 77: Access to appointments and staff competence, CQC, 2022   

How the CQC assesses access to appointments in terms of how responsive a provider is: 

  • How practices should determine the number of appointments they provide 
  • How practices should ensure each patient is seen by the most appropriate person 
  • How practices should ensure staff competency across the multi-disciplinary team 


British Medical Association 

GP access: meeting the reasonable needs of patients, BMA, 2022. 

BMA guide for GP practices on 

  • Contractual obligations in being accessible to patients 
  • What practices can do if they are challenged by their commissioner