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£50m in incentives for GPs to offer advance booking

Ministers plan to plough up to £50million into incentives for GPs to offer appointments in advance, the Department of Health has announced.

The new money, the balance of the £105 million additional investment agreed as part of this year's contract deal, will be used by PCTs to fund local enhanced services.

In a circular to PCT chief executives, Mark Britnell, director general of commissioning and system management at the Department of Health, said: ‘We recommend PCTs consider ways of using the investment to tackle areas where the GP Patient Survey shows patient concerns, such as advance booking of GP appointments where patient satisfaction, at 77%, still lags behind other access indicators.'

LMC leaders expressed concern that GPs already struggling to meet 48-hour access targets would be faced with conflicting priorities.

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said surgeries running Advanced Access or same-day booking systems would struggle to offer appointments in advance.

‘The Advanced Access surgeries tend to run to time to a greater extent, and I would expect some resistance to adopting the mixed economy of appointments.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘While we will be developing a range of options that to improve access to GPs, it will be for PCTs and providers to determine which best suits their patients.'

£50m for GPs to offer advance booking

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