On 2nd July 2019 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked the Government “what measures they propose to take to ensure that there is adequate provision of GP services in rural areas”. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I speak as a co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Health and Social Care. Living now in a city, I know the challenge of rural health provision, but GP services are not just about doctors. They are also about nurses and community workers. Can the Minister comment on the possibility of developing direct access training for district nurses and health visitors?
Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford: The right reverend Prelate is quite right. We need to expand the wider workforce to support GPs. One reason this has been such a challenge is the shortage of the wider workforce. That is why there was a commitment in the people plan to recruit 20,000 extra staff—such as physiotherapists, pharmacists and nurses—for GP practices, to ensure that we can provide the support staff for sustainable community services. There is an emphasis on moving towards more community care. That is why the funding has been provided, and why there is such an emphasis on that part of the service.