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No evidence £4.6m seven-day access scheme reduced costs, says CCG

A GP extended access scheme popular with patients has produced ‘no evidence’ that it will lead to reduced spending in the wider health system, a CCG evaluation has concluded.

NHS Leeds West CCG said in an interim report that the £4.6m scheme to offer more weekend and evening appointments, which it self funded after being declined money from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, had seen patients attend an extra 125,000 appointments at a GP practice at a cost of approximately £36 per appointment.

The evaluation of its impact found that there was ‘wide support’ and ‘a breadth of positive comments from patients’ on the scheme, but that general practice staff experienced that it was leading to ‘existing resources being spread too thinly’.

Staff did see ‘some evidence’ that peak times such as Monday mornings were less busy, with other positive impacts including a ‘very slight decline in A&E attendances, emergency admissions and minor injury units’ and a ’marked decrease in GP out-of-hours attendances.

But the report added that an ’increase in cost of emergency admissions means that there is currently no evidence that there will be any reduced spend in [the] wider health system as a result of the scheme.’

The scheme has been running for 18 months and is due to come to an end at the end of this month, but the final evaluation is not due before summer.

The local report falls in line with the official national analysis of the Challenge Fund pilots, which also concluded that extending access in weekends and evenings cost more than it could save in the wider health economy.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Are any of the great and the good listening.I doubt it very much as it doesnt agree with their underlying agenda.

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  • At £30 per appointment we could offer an excellent and timely service. Unfortunately we can't currently offer that at

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  • So we get £19/consult under GMS. I think for that price we could do something. Try paying it 8-8 and we'll talk.

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  • pre-bookable surgery slots will never reduce admissions. I am kind of sick of saying it so think will leave this site. If existing practices are adequately funded then it may be possible to provide emergency advice/visiting by an experienced GP. That will reduce admissions but whatever is done needs to be sustained long term.

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  • Creating demand is not the way to save costs- are you listening MR cameron/osborne.

    keeping a road closed, ensures no traffic and nobody loses, stay at home and watch football, open the road and the traffic just floods in- with more pollution,more noise, more cost and more accidents.

    Does this say it????

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  • £4.6m is quite a lot to spend on access. You would need an awful lot of prevention to make that back. If an A&E visit is £123, you have to save 1/4 to make it back. Just a tax on those who can't do maths.

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  • When will our politician understand that we are creating a provider induced demand?

    " I want to be checked out" in the middle of the night.

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  • £36/patient is a lot better then my local priminister's challenge funded extended surgery scheme which I'm told costed around £130/patient (I'm not joking!)

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  • 1203 How do you get 19 / consult? Profit is 60 in NI [ 1700 patients = 102000/ year]for 6 consults per patient year. Factor in 40% paperwork, you get 36/6 =6. Can I have the maths please?

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  • This report will not do anything to stem the political ideology - instead of saying "there is currently no evidence that there will be any reduced spend in [the] wider health system as a result of the scheme" - why not do a deeper report and state the harm it has done. Eg - 1) that £4.6m has not been available to provide (x) procedures to needy patients 2) it has not been available to improve access facilities a (x) local practices 3) it has created extra work for 4) it has not improved GP recruitment.
    I suspect the only way these hair-brained schemes will be seen for what they are is when the local patient populations see what they could have had by way of real improvements rather than what has been expensively provided to a slecet few with less than tangible outcomes

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