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Next steps for improving general practice services outlined by NHS England and NHS Improvement
Planning guidance issued yesterday gives more details on how the extra funding announced in the General Practice Forward View will be used to help transform services.
Published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, Delivering the Forward View: NHS Operational Planning Guidance for 2017/18 and 2018/19 provides NHS trusts and commissioners with the tools they need to plan for the years ahead. On top of planned increases to primary medical care allocations for general practice, the guidance confirms that there will also be further local recurrent funding to improve and increase capacity in general practice, totalling £138m by 2017/18 and increasing to £258m by 2018/19. This will contribute to the overall ambition of investing an extra £2.4 billion in general practice services by 2020/21.
In 2016/17, this recurrent funding is being made available to the General Practice Access Fund pilot schemes (formerly known as the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund) and a number of additional areas across the country which will accelerate delivery of improving GP access in 2017/18. This will also enable London to begin a capital wide programme of improving access from 2016/17.
The investment will be extended in 2018/19 to enable the whole country to start developing additional capacity, so that from April 2019 every CCG can expect a minimum additional £6 per head to improve access to general practice.
Arvind Madan, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care, said yesterday: “We know that general practice is under pressure and we are determined to maintain the momentum in turning things around, as started with the launch of the General Practice Forward View. Today’s planning guidance, with detail on how investment will look in the coming years, demonstrates the steps we will be taking with CCGs to both stabilise and transform GP services in the years to come, for the benefit of staff and patients.”
It means CCGs will be able to commission extra services, making the most of new technologies and the wider workforce. This might include commissioning provision of access to pre-bookable and same day appointments to general practice services in evenings (after 6:30pm) and at weekends, meeting local population needs as appropriate. This should help reduce demand on both general practice in-hours, and urgent care services.
For the first time, the new planning guidance also places a requirement on CCGs to develop local action plans detailing how they will deliver on the aims set out in theGeneral Practice Forward View. This will be a crucial part of delivering the overall vision for the local area, being developed as part of their Sustainability and Transformation Plans. In particular, the plans will need to set out how CCGs will invest funds to support and transform general practice. CCG plans will complement work taking place at a national level to deliver the commitments in the GPFV, such as improving resilience and growing the workforce.
CCGs will need to provide plans outlining their approach to implementing the General Practice Forward View by 23 December 2016 as part of the NHS Planning process.
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