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GPs offered hundreds of thousands to put on extra appointments this winter

Exclusive GPs in Yorkshire have been given £700,000 to offer more in-hours appointments over winter, while GPs in Birmingham are set to receive £375,000 for extra appointments in January.

The winter resilience scheme in NHS Calderdale CCG, which launched in November, has allowed all GPs in the area to offer more appointments between 8am and 6.30pm.

Some of the funding is also being spent on an extended access pilot in south and central Halifax, opening up GP appointments from 6.30pm to 8pm during the week.

Debbie Robinson, NHS Calderdale CCG’s head of primary care quality and improvement, said the investment would ‘improve access for all patients by supporting local GPs to offer more appointments’.

She said: ‘The aim is to ensure that more people can see a GP or health professional at their GP surgery when they need to over the busy winter period.’

However, the CCG was unable to confirm how practices can receive this funding.

GPs in Birmingham are also seeing an increase in funding this winter with NHS Birmingham Cross City CCG committing £205,000 to provide 8,200 extra appointments in January 2018.

According to CCG board papers, the funding is being issued through a local improvement scheme (LIS) with practices providing ‘same day pre-bookable appointments in addition to or parallel with their usual clinical sessions’.

This is in addition to £170,000 in winter funding approved earlier in the year for GPs to provide 6,800 extra appointments on 27, 28 and 29 December and 2 and 3 January.

The CCG added that the 95 practices in the NHS Birmingham Cross City CCG can sign up to one or both of the schemes, with funding being offered at £25 per consultation.

However, Dr Robert Morley, Birmingham LMC's executive secretary, said: 'Whilst any additional funding for general practice is welcome the solution to the endemic problems facing it and the rest of the NHS do not rely on one off small pots of money aimed at resolving crises in other parts of the system rather than tackling the ongoing crisis of general practice workload and workforce.'

Karen Helliwell, director of integration for NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG, said: ‘The CCGs have commissioned additional primary care capacity to support this period; specifically the days following the bank holidays, which we know often see an increase in A&E activity.’

This comes as Pulse previously reported LMC leaders in Leicester and Lincolnshire as saying ‘there is no extra funding at all’ for in-hours GP care.

Winter resilience plans

While none of the winter plans detailed any extra funding for general practice, many requested that GP practices provide extended hours to reduce the pressure on A&E departments - including staying open on bank holidays

The plans however did include placing up to three GPs in A&E streaming services to curb secondary care pressures this winter.

But trusts are already struggling this autumn, with four declaring black or red alerts in September and October and GPs have said the strain on A&E will put general practice under even more pressure this winter.

As a result Chancellor Philip Hammond handed hospital trusts £335m to deal with urgent winter pressures in the Autumn Budget statement, while general practice failed to get a mention.

Readers' comments (10)

  • I can never understand the huge variation in level of funding and schemes across the UK.

    We have been offered....nothing at all...

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  • Headline grabbing schemes announced but the devil as always is in the detail. How to access the money is always bound up with business case protocols committee meetings etc until the crisis has passed and the money is recycled to the bottom line and black hole filling! It is never equitable yet we have a National contract?

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  • Agree with Joe. There will be a complex bid-writing process. No doubt there will be a verification process followed by claw-back of money if arbitrary targets are not hit. Also where will the extra appointments come from - Locum colleagues? Pharmacists?

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  • Detasil = prebookable above what you would normally offer (including urgents). Each CCG will have had an allocation - it's what they did with it - ours was for localities to come up with a sloution - some CCGs will have given to ooh, acute or community trusts
    The process wasnt complex at all.

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  • doctordog.

    £25 per consultation .
    Very generous .

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  • Undervalued as always private ear syringing £45 each ear. 2 ears £90!!!!

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  • BMEs, just forget it, you are not in the reckoning for any funding!

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  • And for NI GP?
    Zilch, 1.5 billion pounds promised by the Torres for health and education, not a penny for primary care!

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  • AlanAlmond

    Chucking peanuts at the monkeys in primary care to help reduce pressure in hospital. The sole aim to ‘reduce pressure on a&e’
    Who are they going to employ to carry out these extra appointments?
    I am sick of all these empty headline grabbing schemes to help hospitals. Primary care is a vast service in its own right. It receives only 7% of the NHS budget and yet carries out 95% of all face to face contacts. It doesn’t just exist simply to service the 93% cash guzzling hospital service. Were doing a whole load of work ourselves already and we are really struggling. And yet every time any trivial ‘emergency’ sum is announced with great fan fair..the reason is ‘to provide more appointments to relive the pressure on hospital beds’ ...depressing and completely missing the bigger picture. Where are the leaders with an understanding of reality?

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  • David Banner

    Ah, I thought the headline read hundreds AND thousands!! Mind you, a few sprinkles on our ice cream might tempt us into working extra shifts, after all, it's still more than my bankrupt CCG will be offering.

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