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Independents' Day

NHS England offers GP practices 'sustainability' assessment

An NHS England regional team has developed a GP practice ‘health check’ tool to determine their sustainability.

The tool is based around a serious of questions for the practice, including whether it has analysed peaks and troughs in demand and ‘considered different models of access’ such as Skype appointments or telephone triage to manage demand.

The health tool, available to practices across Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset, is a first step for practices accessing NHS England South West’s dedicated general practice sustainability scheme, which offers management support and advice on how to work more efficiently and networking with other practices for example.

The initiative, which is funded by NHS England but does not offer direct financial support for practices, comes as the GPC has pleaded with NHS England to step up support for practices at risk of closures via a dedicated support fund.

The health check tool also suggests practices ensure they have a ‘succession plan’ in place for when members of the clinical workforce retire; is aware of current vacancy levels and how much it is relying on locums; and asks if the practice has ‘considered other professionals to deliver services e.g. pharmacists’

Aside from analysing the supply and demand situation, it also suggests a practice sustainability concern would be if the ‘draw down for a partner (per session) [is] less than the practice would pay for a locum per session.’

NHS England (South West) said in a statement: ‘The Supporting Sustainable General Practice initiative aims to fulfil NHS England’s ambition to support innovative and improved models of primary care, by designing a process which can take Practices on a journey from the provision of tools to enable to them to identify viability and sustainability, to helping them explore aims and objectives, potential design solutions and transform into sustainable organisational forms.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised £10 million towards supporting struggling practices as part of the ‘new deal’ in June, however Pulse revealed that this was not new money and would only be made available to practices in CQC enforcement.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Some would say NHSE is full of tools!Are any of them of any use to GP land,I doubt it.

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  • how about whatsapp with all the patients. 2000 per gp. reply night and day using the latest iphones. then they have instant access. all messages not replied back within 5 minutes will lead to a GMS funding cut. If all messages are not cleared in the hour, then a GMC referral. If your battery dies replying to all the whats app questions, a CQC inspection. everyones happy. great stuff.

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  • How about we send a newsletter to all the HIV patients - CC is the box to put their emails in isn't it? ...

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    useless gobbledegook speak

    I don't want to be taken on a 'journey' with NHSEngland!

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  • How can you have a succession plan when there are no applicants for GP jobs.Last time I looked in Pulse the CQC closed down a practice with no GPs.Thes people are out of touch.The disater has hit and there is no one charging over the hill to save them or us.

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  • It's all about trying to squeeze the last little bit of toothpaste out of the tube. The trouble is that many practices are already extremely efficient using telephone consultations and ancillary healthcare workers, but are still struggling.

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  • The words titanic and deck chairs come to mind. Fools.

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  • No we don't consider Skype because that's not medicine. Dumb.

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  • "Being expected to make myself directly available to patients by e-mail or Skype," is something I decided years ago would be a trigger for retiring from the job. In those days, I was free to decline to do telephone consultations, which have subsequently turned into a monstrous, uncontainable ADDITIONAL workload. What part of our workload is going to be taken away to make time for even more remote consultations?

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  • More useless pretence at helping whilst they steadily undermine primary care...talking shopping whilst nhs declines.
    Hot air to try disguise their maladministration that would not be needed if they competently managed primary care
    As ever sticking plaster disingenuous smoke screens in place of genuine progress
    Last paragraph classic brainless meaningless management speak garbage
    Another pathetic scheme soon to be buried under further pointless nonsense nhse endlessly regurgitates

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