All emergency departments must have GP led triage by October

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Every hospital in England must have a “comprehensive” GP led triage system in emergency departments by October 2017 in a bid to avoid a repeat of the winter crisis that gripped the service this year, NHS leaders have said.

The requirement is one of several “concrete changes” demanded by NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, and the chief executive of NHS Improvement, Jim Mackey, in a letter sent after the chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget pledge to give the NHS an extra £100m (€115m; $120m) in 2017‑18 to spend on easing pressures in accident and emergency departments.

General practice opening hours to be scrutinised

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From October general practices in England will be financially penalised if they close during core working hours during the week, the chief executive of NHS England has said.

Simon Stevens told MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that changes to the GP contract, which will be introduced in October, will allow NHS England to scrutinise GP opening hours more closely and take action where necessary.