Patient care is being put at risk due to a slump in the amount of NHS budget spent on general practice - now the lowest on record, a royal college has warned.
In 2004/05, 10.3% of the NHS budget was spent on general practice but by 2011/12 this figure had dropped to 8.4%, according to analysis by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the National Association for Patient Participation.
The RCGP said the slump is compromising the standard of care GPs can offer patients, leading to longer waiting times and increasing pressure on hospitals.
This is despite the fact that 90% of contacts with patients across the NHS occur in general practice, it said.
Dr Richard Vautrey from the British Medical Association has said a new agreement for every person aged 75 and over to have named GPs will allow them to "focus" on their needs.
"GPs want to spend less time ticking boxes on their computer and more time with their patients.
"What we've agreed with the Government is to remove some of the targets that were set by them just a few months ago and instead spend more time particularly focusing on the needs of of the elderly and our most vulnerable patients."
Bring back the traditional family doctor, someone who knows you inside out and doesn't need half an hour to scan through your notes.
– Steve Masters
I have been with my doctors surgery since I was born in 1949, my eldest sister is still there too, but I bet not one of our doctors would recognise us in the street. I'm 64, and have to insist on things to get anywhere with them.
– Les Timms
What happens when a doctor's quota for over 75s is full are you transferred across town to a new one?
Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, has welcomed the new contract for doctors to be responsible to ensure over-75s receive appropriate co-ordinated care.
This is welcome news for patients and for GPs as it will help us to get back to our real job of providing care where it is most needed, rather than more box-ticking.
GPs need to have the time to listen to their patients, discuss the issues that are important to them, and be free to use professional judgment and medical evidence to provide the best personalised care possible according to the patient's individual needs.
As a GP myself for many years, I know the importance of being able to do what we have been trained for - to use our professional clinical judgment to provide care and treatment that meets all aspects of a patient's needs.
We know that patients who receive a proactive and co-ordinated health and social care service are less likely to need to be admitted to hospital - in fact, a fifth of hospital admissions could be avoided if this happened every time - and we know that this is particularly important for the most vulnerable patients with complex needs where properly co-ordinated care makes such a difference.
– Dame Barbara Hakin, deputy chief executive at NHS England