National Association for Patient Participation

Campaign successes

The campaign so far...

The Put patients first: Back general practice campaign has two main overarching aims:

That the governments of the UK put patients first by increasing the share of funding that goes into general practice from 8.39% to 11% of the UK NHS budget. This investment will transform care for patients and benefit the NHS as a whole by alleviating pressure on our hospitals and providing cost effective care closer to home.

To increase the number of GPs across the UK by 9540 by 2020: 8000 in England, 740 in Scotland, 400 in NI, 400 in Wales; in order to continue to provide the existing hours and level of service.

Since the campaign launched in November 2013 it has had a number of successes:

UK wide

  • Collecting more than 330,000 signatures on our petition in support of the campaign calling for 11% of the NHS budget to be spent on general practice – signatures have been delivered to the Prime Minister and the First Ministers in Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland

  • Securing the support of over 20 partner organisations, including the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Nursing and College of Social Work.

  • Securing a key backbench debate in the House of Commons on the topic of "Building sustainable GP services".  26 MPs spoke in the debate to highlight issues relating to general practice in their constituencies

  • Making the crisis facing general practice a major issue of national debate, securing front page coverage in the Sun, Observer, Mirror, Guardian, Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Scottish Edition of the Sunday Times. The campaign has also been covered by the BBC’s Today Programme, on Radio 4 on a number of occasions.

  • Launching a campaign video focusing on the future of general practice as an exciting career option for doctors, which has now been viewed 16,915 times on YouTube

  • Enabling supporters to have their say: with over 4,400 letters sent to politicians via the online tool on our campaign microsite

  • The campaign is regularly quoted in the Commons, Lords, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly



April 2016: The government has published the General Practice 'Forward View' , promising 5000 more GPs and pledging to ensure that "over 10%" of the NHS budget goes to general practice by 2020. This will mean around £2.4billion in additional funding per year. Read our financial analysis of the changes here, or for a summary, we've put together this handy infographic.

  • The Government made a substantial commitment to general practice in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement by announcing a £1.2bn investment in GP services over four years, of which £1bn will be allocated to infrastructure investment in England

  • The Chancellor also announced £200 million for a transformation fund to pilot thenew models of careset out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, which will include supporting practices to work together to become Multi-specialty Community Providers

  • The campaign has helped influence NHS England to make an additional £250m available to general practice to support enhanced care for older people and other patients with complex needs

  • NHS England has announced a programme of work: the Five Year Forward View which reflects our campaign demands – committing to a ‘new deal’ for GPs and a shift in investment to primary care

  • The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, committed the Government to delivering an additional5,000 GPs by 2020, as well as a further 5,000 primary care professionalsthanks to pressure from the campaign

  • The campaign persuaded NHS England and Health Education England to launch a 10 point plan – based on an RCGP policy paper – to increase the GP workforce, by focussing on recruitment and retention of workers

  • Helped to persuade the Government to invest £150m in the Prime Minister’s GP Challenge Fund 

  • Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, has publicly acknowledged that there has been under-investment in general practice and has indicated that, thanks to a “compelling case” being made by the RCGP in our Blueprint for building the new deal for general practice in England document and through the economic analysis we commissioned from Deloitte, he would back a shift in resources from secondary care to general practice

  • An Inquiry focusing on primary care has been launched by the House of Commons Health Select Committee in response to the campaign raising awareness of the issue, and the RCGP has submitted both oral and written evidence 

  • We received assurances from the Government in the summer of 2015 that no GP junior doctor would lose out under proposed new junior doctor contracts, after over 4,000 members signed an RCGP petition on this issue

  • Persuading NHS England and Health Education England to launch a renewed Induction and Refresher programme to encourage more GPs to return to practice

  • The campaign helped persuade NHS England to launch a new Occupational Health service for GPs

  • The campaign helped persuade NHS England to launch a £31m scheme to fund, recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries

  • Helped persuade NHS England to announce an increase spending on GPs and primary medical services between 4-5.4% per year over the next five years

  • Playing a central role – working with HEE and other partners – in delivering an increase of around 100 applications to general practice training in 2014/15 (compared to the previous year)

  • Pilot targeted incentives schemes announced as part of the 10 point plan: £20K bursaries to be offered to GP trainees in 109 hard-to-recruit localities in South Cumbria, North West Lancashire (Blackpool), East Cumbria, West Lakes, Lincolnshire, North & North East Lincolnshire, and the Isle of Wight.

  • The Public Accounts Committee announced there have been "alarming" levels of underinvestment in general practice, with insufficient staffing levels leading to a "looming crisis". Government asked to report back on their recommendations by the end of the year.


  • Earlier in 2014, the campaign helped to persuade the Scottish Government to allocate an additional £4m to general practice
  • The Scottish government now requires that health boards carry out strategic assessments of primary care for the first time

  • In June 2015, a £50 million three-year primary care fund was announced with some of its spending being directed towards actions specifically recommended within the Blueprint for Scottish General Practice including £16.2 million to recruit up to 140 new pharmacist independent prescribers who will work directly with GP practices and £6 million to support and accelerate the use of digital services by GP practices

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robison, announced at the 2015 RCGP annual conference that the Scottish Government would phase out QOF, along with an announcement of 100 extra training places for GP trainees from 2016, as called of our in our Blueprint document

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robison, praised the campaign before an audience of patients, health professionals and MSPs at an evening parliamentary reception held in Holyrood in December 2015

  • The campaign has been repeatedly mentioned in debates in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament and in the Scottish media

  • Holding two reception events in the Scottish Parliament  in November 2014 and December 2015
  • Following our budget campaign action in early 2016, in which 1247 emails were sent to MSPs by our supporters and members, the Scottish government promised to spend £20m "directly" on general practice. This would include:
    - £5 million to support GPs to develop their role in quality and leadership 
    - £2 million for IT infrastructure 
    - £2 million for parental leave, occupational health services for primary care staff and supplying every GP practice with emergency oxygen cylinders.



Helping to persuade the Welsh Government to invest an additional £123.5m in primary care, including:

  • £30m annually to develop primary care services across Wales following the Chancellor's 2014 Autumn Statement
  • A £10m four-year programme to improve access to GP services and deliver more NHS care in the community 
  • An additional £3.5m for primary care set aside in 2014
  • In response to hundreds of letters sent by campaign supporters, Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, has written to RCGP Wales to highlight his support for general practice
  • In July 2015, the Welsh Government published its Primary Care Workforce Plan, which includes several of the recommendations set out in the new RCGP Wales publication Strengthening General Practice: Actions for a brighter future for patients in Wales, including launching a national GP recruitment campaign and reimbursing medical school fees when a newly-qualified doctor commits to a career in general practice
  • Holding successful events with AMs in the Senedd in January and November 2015

Northern Ireland

  • Total investment in general practice (excluding dispensing and reimbursement of drugs) as a share of NHS expenditure has risen from its lowest value of 7.96% in 2012/13 to 8.30% in 2013/14
  • Persuading the Northern Ireland Executive to announce an additional £15m for general practice in April 2015, in the context of huge financial pressures and political uncertainty. This includes £3.1m of investment for Out of Hours GP services, helping to improve access for patients and £300,000 to recruit and retain GPs.
  • The campaign generated a high level of media attention following publication of an RCGP survey which found that 72.5% of the public in Northern Ireland believe that waiting times to see a GP are at crisis point
    The campaign has delivered high profile cross party support and media coverage in Northern Ireland, including in the Belfast Telegraph, BBC and UTV. This includes widespread political support and media attention for RCGPNI’s Delivering change for general practice: A strategy for improving patient care in Northern Ireland document
  • The announcement by Ministers in Northern Ireland of a new working group focusing on general practice in light of the problems the campaign has helped highlight in Northern Ireland
  • RCGPNI Chair John O’Kelly has been invited to sit on a newly founded strategic leadership group, with a remit to provide advice to the Government on leadership and system transformation.
  • The government has announced there are to be 20 more training places for GPs in Northern Ireland.
  • New Health Minister Michelle O'Neill has committed to £900k investment into GP federations following a meeting with the RCGP. We handed in an open letter asking her to implement the recommendations of the GP-led working group report with 168 signatures.

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