The Patients Association was founded in 1963 and continues to listen to patients and speak up for change.

Weekly News
Keeping you informed about the latest developments in healthcare

Seven-day GP access by 2020
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has promised that by 2020, everyone in England will have access to GP services seven days a week. He has also promised to bring back "named GPs" - to take charge of patient care outside hospital. Currently GP practices are required to identify a “named” or “accountable GP” for patients over 75.
The plans are expected to cost £400m in set-up costs, spread over the next five years, and would be funded from existing budgets. In the years 2015-2016, £100m would be invested in improving access to GPs between 8am and 8pm and at weekends, under the second phase of the “prime minister’s challenge fund”
The Prime Minister said:
"People need to be able to see their GP at a time that suits them and their family. That's why we will ensure everyone can see a GP seven days a week by 2020. We will also support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer - giving millions of patients better access to their doctor."
Labour has said it would plough an extra £2.5bn into the NHS - if it regains power - to hire an extra 8,000 GPs and to guarantee that everyone will be able to see a GP within 48 hours.
The Patients Association has campaigned tirelessly for better access to GP and nurse appointments.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said,
“We receive countless calls to our helpline from patients who are unable to obtain a GP appointment at a time when they need one. Unless urgent action is taken, we will see increasing pressure on an already overstretched A&E system, as patients visit the emergency departments in desperation.”
“The NHS must be an organisation that puts the patient at the centre of everything that it does; indeed the NHS Constitution provides rights to patients to be able to access services when required. Unfortunately, since patients have no control over when they are sick they must have quick and easy access to a GP when required.”
Toolkit for emergency care
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have produced a toolkit which will help emergency patients to be diagnosed and treated on the same day. Rates of emergency admission have been rising for some time in the UK and there is significant concern around the degree to which the system is being stretched. Over the past few years, doctors and managers have been looking for ways to reduce emergency admissions without compromising the quality of patient care.
Ambulatory emergency care allows patients going to hospital as an emergency to be quickly assessed, diagnosed and treated on the same day, so that they can return home, reducing the number of patients admitted to a hospital ward. 
Dr. Mike Smith, Chairman of the Patients Association, said,
“The NHS must be an organisation that puts the patient at the centre of everything that it does, and services must be designed around the needs of patients. We are therefore strongly encouraged that the Royal College of Physicians has produced a toolkit which will enable emergency patients to be diagnosed and treated on the same day.”
“The majority of patients do not want or need to be kept in hospital overnight or longer; indeed for many patients it may even been detrimental. We know that for many frail and older people, recovery from illness is often better in their own homes.”
“Ambulatory Emergency Care enables the right treatment to be provided efficiently to the right patients and within the right setting. Not only is it beneficial to patients and staff, but it also provides significant cost-savings to the NHS.”
Ageing GPs 'may force practices to close'
Hundreds of GP practices are at risk of closure because of the number of doctors reaching retirement age. An analysis by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has identified 543 GP practices out of the 8,000 in England it believes could be forced to shut in the next year. They all have more than 90% of their doctors aged over 60 - the average retirement age is 59.
The research was released at the start of the RCGP's conference and comes just two days after ministers unveiled plans to create seven-day GP services.
RCGP chair, Dr Maureen Baker, said:
"We do have a workforce crisis in general practice. We've been losing GPs, we are losing GPs and we're not recruiting enough doctors into the profession."
Frimley Park Hospital awarded first “outstanding” rating
England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as “outstanding” following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.
Inspectors rated Frimley Park Hospital as “outstanding” for Accident and Emergency, medical care, surgery, critical care and end of life care. Maternity and family planning, children’s care and outpatient services were rated as “good”. The CQC rated the trust overall as “outstanding” for being caring, responsive and well-led, and rated it as “good” for being safe and effective.
Midwives vote in favour of strike action
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has announced that 82% of its members voted in favour of strike action - the first time they have ever been balloted on industrial action.
They will join other staff, including nurses, healthcare assistants and porters, in a walk-out on the 13th October.
The strike will last four hours, but the RCM said midwives will still be there for women giving birth. Instead, it will be ante-natal and post-natal appointments that will be affected by the strike which starts at 7am.
Caseworker/ Advocate
Are you interested in making a difference to the experience of patients and championing excellent patient care?  If so, the Patients Association would love to hear from you.

Due to a high demand for support and requests for advocacy, we are looking to recruit a motivated, compassionate and flexible caseworker.

This is an exciting opportunity for an applicant with the right clinical NHS background, to join a high profile, patient facing independent national charity, with a big footprint.

In order to recruit the right person, we are prepared to consider flexible working and home/office based hours.  Secondment opportunities will also be considered. Appointment will initially be for a period of 6 months.

If you would like to be considered for this post and would like an informal discussion, please contact Jacqui Coles, Deputy CEO ( or 0208 423 9111).
About Us

The Patients Association’s motto is ‘Listening to Patients, Speaking up for Change’. This motto is the basis on which we build all our campaigns. Via our Helpline, we capture stories about Healthcare from over thousands of patients, family members and carers every year. We use this knowledge to campaign for real improvements to health and social care services across the UK. In addition, our Helpline provides valuable signposting and information for patients and supports them as they navigate the Healthcare service.

Our Helpline

The Patients Association Helpline – 0845 608 44 55 – is there to help.

This is a local rate number and if a phone provider charges, we are happy to return calls. The Helpline both informs patients and gathers their views. We are of course available online, providing advice, the latest health news, signposting to further information and general advice.

You can also email us at

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