Primary Care

Our aims

  • Make it easy to see your local GP or healthcare professional
  • Improve the quality of services provided, so it is consistently good
  • Bring services together to make them more accessible and convenient

Primary Care services are usually the first point of contact the public has with the NHS. They include GP surgeries or practices, pharmacies and dentists.

Across east London there are examples of excellent primary care services. Many are among the best in the country, but there are also some that need improving.

We want all of our health and care services in east London to be the very best and are working with clinicians and staff in primary care to ensure they are consistently good across the area, both now and in the future.

Information on the many improvements we are making is also given elsewhere in this guide, especially in the section on Urgent and Emergency Care. This includes information about the NHS 111 service, which you can contact online or by telephone for advice and help, day and night, when you don’t feel well and are unsure about what to do and where to go.

We want to make it easier to book an appointment with a GP. We also want to offer them at a more convenient time.

It’s now possible to book appointments at many surgeries online. An increasing number are extending their opening hours to cover evenings and weekends.

In some instances you may not need to visit a surgery at all. You could have the appointment with a doctor, or nurse, by a video link from your smartphone instead.
We are also looking to free GPs, and other healthcare professionals in local surgeries, from paperwork so they can spend more time with their patients, especially those with complex conditions.

Improvements to information systems, and the links between surgeries, hospitals and specialist services, will give doctors and other
clinical specialists quicker access to records and test results, enabling them to plan and give better care to patients.

For minor ailments it’s often quicker in the first instance to visit your local pharmacy rather than GP surgery.

Pharmacists are skilled, qualified healthcare practitioners who will be able to see you immediately and offer advice and medication for a range of complaints such as hay fever, conjunctivitis and flu. They offer many other services as well, including flu vaccinations and help with stopping smoking.

An increasing number of pharmacists in east London are able to offer urgent repeat medication. NHS 111 can also help with this.

An important priority is to provide care closer to, or in, people’s homes.

It’s why we are bringing all the relevant services together in local neighbourhoods, in the form of hubs.

GPs, community nurses and other NHS specialists will be based alongside council care teams in centres across east London, within easy reach of the main residential areas, to provide comprehensive treatment and support – not just in the centres themselves, but also in the surrounding homes.

Bringing expertise together in this way will do more than just streamline services. With more staff than traditional GP surgeries, and equipped with the latest facilities and technology, the hubs will be able to stay open longer and offer a greater range of services – from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

As well as making primary care more accessible and convenient, we want to improve the quality of services so people experience the best possible treatment and care – whoever they are and wherever they live.

See our Better Care and Wellbeing in East London booklet to find out what we are doing to achieve our aims, what it means for local people and what you can do.