GPs to be offered £1bn in new funds if they improve access and elderly care
GPs will have to increase the number of appointments they offer and improve their care of older patients in order to share in a new £1bn NHS fund to overhaul crumbling GP surgeries. England’s 8,500 GP practices must offer patients more time with doctors and expand the services they offer in return for receiving some of the money.
NHS England believes this will help reduce the pressure on hospitals buckling under the strain of unprecedented demand. It makes clear that they must do much more to keep patients healthier at home for longer to receive some of the new “primary care infrastructure fund”.
Dame Barbara Hakin, explains:
“the key metrics for prioritisation will be: access to general practice, including increased appointment and patient contact time; and/or reduction in emergency attendance or admission to hospital of over-75s”.
Surgeries will also be expected to make much better use of technology to monitor patients’ health as a way of reducing their need to seek direct care from a doctor.
NHS England is inviting all 8,500 surgeries to submit bids for the first tranche of the money. A sum of £250m will be made available every year from April.
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said that surgeries were
“creaking under the strain [of] conducting 90% of all patient contacts for just 8.3% of the overall budget”. “We hope this pledge of new money is the beginning of ‘a new deal for general practice’ and will allow us to treat more patients in the community, keeping them out of hospitals unless absolutely necessary.”