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General practice given just 4% of NHS winter bailout money

GPs were allocated just 4% of the total amount of winter resilience funding given to NHS organisations this year, with the rest going to secondary care.

In mid-December, NHS England released a £20m fund to add extra appointments up until Easter in areas without GP Access schemes, in an effort to ease winter pressures.

However, GP leaders have said the money was 'far too little' in comparison with the amount given to hospitals this year.

In the Autumn Budget last year the Chancellor promised an extra £337m in ‘winter funding’ to NHS trusts, while NHS England made an additional £150m available to providers to cover the ‘extra’ costs of winter.

Chair of the BMA's GP committee, Dr Richard Vautrey, said the £20m pot was ‘variably distributed’, with CCGs that do not have GP Access schemes in their area given priority.

Under the GP access scheme, CCGs give practices £6 per head to open in the evenings and on weekends, with all CCGs expected to offer this money by 2019.

Dr Vautrey said: 'We were told that if a CCG already had funding for the access scheme the expectation was that they were already offering additional appointments compared with other areas and so this new funding was targeted at those CCGs that didn't already have that additional capacity available.

He added: 'Whilst any additional funding to support practices struggling with unsustainable workloads is welcome, compared with the amount found to give to hospitals this was far too little to truly deal with the pressures practices and community bases services are under.'

This comes as GPs have reported being 'horrendously pressured' pressured this winter, with GPs experiencing a 78% increase in consultations for flu in one week last month.

NHS England told Pulse that the money was made available to CCGs in mid-December for additional capacity in general practice.

As Pulse reported last week, NHS England has turned down a request from GPC to suspend QOF reporting until the end of March.

When asked why, an NHS England spokesperson said: 'Instead of tinkering with QOF at this late stage of the year, we are supporting practices with an additional investment of £20m to help primary care manage winter pressures.'

This comes after a Pulse investigation in October found no area had set aside detailed funding for general practice winter pressures.

However since then GPs in Yorkshire and Birmingham were given £700,000 and £375,000 respectively for extra appointments.

Readers' comments (9)

  • We are deemed as being free and not newsworthy.

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  • AlanAlmond

    I don't think general practice is really considered to be part of the NHS.
    The NHS is hospitals and A&E...GPs are something else, not sure what, but not very flash., and not of much importance, unless you can’t get in to see one. Because GPs considered to be ‘free’, we don’t have much value and I guess don’t need much funding. Everyone knows hospitals cost money, but why would you need to give cash to a man/woman in a pair of cords/sensible skirt, when all they do is sit there, nod and give you a prescription or a sick note. That’s doesnt cost anything does it..except their wages, and everyone knows GPs are paid way too much anyroad, don’t want to be giving them any more, better to spend the money on shiny boxes that beep in the hospital - that makes everyone feel better. We need to start charging. Until we do, we’re ‘free’ and worth not much at all..

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  • If GPs are "I don't think general practice is really considered to be part of the NHS.
    The NHS is hospitals and A&E...GPs are something else, not sure what, but not very flash., and not of much importance" consider the GP Out of Hours service. Even less importance - but properly funded and supported had the infrastructure and staff to deal with such crises until undermined by cost cutting, minimal staffing, low pay etc etc. Probably too late to resuscitate it now. More work for the poor (expansive) big shiny building.

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  • sorry - expensive big shinybuilding

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  • Well we all know what to do now don’t we? Let the patient follow the money.

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  • The BMA and RCGP really need to be asked serious question about why they didn’t get more money for us. What are they doing to fix this?

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  • When Gp out of hours, and Gp in hours collapse the big fresh building becomes a veritable war zone.With more junior Drs to lynch when systems fail.

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  • And what are the great and good doing about this?

    About 4% of what they should be, as blood usual.

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  • Secondary care has the money....secondary care can do all the work...buggered if Im going to

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