Four innovative ways that the NHS can reduce the burden on GPs

As part of our focus on increasing wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, we’ve been looking at different ways to take pressure of GPs.

A lot of interesting work is developing in this area, backed by the NHS’s own high impact actions for GPs.

Here are a few very different ideas that might begin to take the strain off an increasingly overworked service.

Treat some patients in groups

This idea caused some controversy when it was publicised in October. But group appointments do work with the right patients, say GPs. “We are already aware of practices that are offering ‘shared’ appointments for patients with similar conditions and the feedback has been very positive,” says Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard of the Royal College of GPs.

Use tech to cut missed appointments

Online portal DrDoctor “is set to save the NHS tens of millions of pounds by slashing the number of missed appointments” and send letters digitally. It is being trialled in ten hospitals – but the same sort of tech could help GP surgeries in the future.

Design an integrated future

Architects were asked to design the GP surgery of the future. And most of the designs incorporate multiple health and social care services – allowing the surgeries to direct patients to the service they need. “We think that GP provision is a means of wayfinding through to a variety of other clinical referrals, community services and lifestyle choices,” said one of the entries.

Extend successes with social franchising

The Health Foundation is backing Pathway and IRISi, two organisations focused on tackling challenging social issues through NHS based interventions. In this blog, the leaders explain how they support vulnerable people who are homeless or affected by domestic violence, and who have approached the NHS for help. Their next challenge – scaling up their work across the NHS – could social franchising work?


If you are interested in our work with Clinical Commissioning Groups and public health teams in the areas of preventative health care including social prescribing, contact Qa Research Richard Bryan, Managing Director: