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Multi-billion package announced “to get general practice back on its feet”

Multi-billion package announced “to get general practice back on its feet”

Clinical commissioning groups will be commissioning services to expand capacity and develop closer links with urgent care and out-of-hours services as part of the multi-billion package announced “to get general practice back on its feet”
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Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be commissioning services to expand capacity and develop closer links with urgent care and out-of-hours services as part of the multi-billion package announced “to get general practice back on its feet.”

An extra £2.4 billion a year by 2020 has been announced by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens. It will be supplemented with a £500 million turnaround package and £171 million from CCGs.

The package announced in the General Practice Forward View aims to see an extra 5,000 GPs, including doctors from overseas, and 5,000 other workers, including mental health therapists, working in surgeries by 2020.

Stevens said that the pressures GP practices are facing in the NHS need to be acted upon. He said: “It’s no surprise that a recent international survey revealed British GPs are under far greater pressure than their counterparts.”

“Rather than ignore these real pressures, the NHS has at last begun openly acknowledging them. We need to act.”

CCGS will be asked to provide a £171 million one-off investment in “practice transformational support” to improve in-hours access, develop extended access and help free up GP time to care through ten high impact changes to free up time.

These include active signposting, new consultation types including e-consultations, developing teams, supporting self care, social prescribing, partnership working, productive workflows, personal productivity and developing quality improvement expertise.

NHS England is also launching a new “multi-speciality community provider” (MCP) contract.

The contract is already being developed by 14 MCP vanguards across England. It will integrate primary and community services, using a wider range of services and specialists.

The provider will hold the “single whole population budget” or all the services it provides, including primary medical and community services.

NHS England will provide an extra £500 million by 2020 for CCGs to commission and fund extra capacity “to ensure that by 2020 everyone has access to GP services, including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demands.”

Johnny Marshall, the policy director of the NHS Confederation which represents commissioners and providers said: “We are pleased to see the commitment to develop a breadth of existing and new roles that meet the needs of the practices’ registered population.”

He said it was essential to build on the roadmap “through better alignment and partnership working in the wider primary care system and across health and care.”

CCGs will also get an 18% boost in funds for IT services and technology for GP practice, with patients offered online consultations.

There will be 3,000 fully funded mental health therapists based at practices, 1,500 more co-funded practice clinical pharmacists.

Stevens also announced nationally funded support for practice nurses, physician assistants, practice managers and receptionists.

NHS England will be pumping £500 million into the system for CCGS to commission for “sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand.”

Up to £45 million will be available for practice to offer online consultations.

Stevens said: “One of the great strengths of general practice in this country has been its diversity across geographies and its adaptabilities over time. So one size will not fit all when it comes to the future shape and work of primary care.”

Dr Joe McGilligan, chair of The Commissioning Review editorial board said there had been so many “false dawns on saving primary care.”

He added: “There is a fundamental mismatch between the rhetoric and the reality. There is a vast knowledge gap about how primary care works in the UK by the people dreaming up ways to save it.”

McGilligan said he feared that promised money for other HCPs “will dry up in the next round and primary care will have to find the funding itself or make redundancies which will paint it in a very bad light”.

He also added that he had advised a trainee to head overseas for a better work life balance.

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