The proposed changes to the contract between NHS England and the British Medical Association’s General Practice Committee for 2014/15 will ensure patients aged 75 or over will get all the treatment they need for physical and mental conditions.
Other key changes introduce more transparency over practices’ earnings and performance, greater patient choice and fairer pay.
Responding to these changes, Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
"Right across the Healthwatch network people are constantly telling us just how important it is for them to be able to easily access and speak to their local doctor, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable.
"Extending opening hours and making it easier to do things like book appointments and get repeat prescriptions online will offer all of us more choice and flexibility, and marks an important step towards creating a more consumer focused health service.
"Crucially these reforms will also give GPs the time to properly listen to and care about the people they look after, particularly those with more complex needs, and move away from the current obsession with targets which has left doctors with confused priorities."