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Independents' Day

NHS chief rejects GPC claim support package is 'weak on immediate help'

Exclusive NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens has admitted his rescue deal for general practice will not be ’a magic wand’ for general practice, but has denied claims that it lacks immediate support.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse discussing the General Practice Forward View, Mr Stevens defended the package, saying that was ‘just the real world’, that not all the measures could be rolled out at once.

But he said he understood that, in light of the last decade of defunding, GP practices would be ‘cynical’ about the rescue deal until they had seen how it translates into a real improvement.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse last week that the threat of mass resignations still remains, as the Forward View was ’weak in terms of immediate help’.

But Mr Stevens pointed to several schemes starting as soon as possible, including £16m of resilience funding to be handed out to struggling practices from the summer adding to the existing £10m programme.

He said: 'It’s perfectly understandable that practices are often cynical. The real test will be how the report is turned into action, so people can feel the difference. There are some things we want to get on with as soon as we can, but others have to wait either because of the workforce phasing or because our funding growth is phased over five years… So, it’s not a magic wand, but nor is it the never-never.’

The scheme to parachute rescue teams into at-risk surgeries, offering specialist help with staff, finances and IT, announced last year as part of health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’, was criticised for taking over six months to materialise.

But Mr Stevens said: ‘We’ve made a start with identifying the first seven or eight hundred practices that might benefit from that [and we have] now got the ability to expand that much faster [and] more than double the size of that support in 2016/17. There was an initial £10m earmarked for that [and] we’re putting another £16m on top of that for this year.’

He added that ’as soon as we agree with the profession what would be most helpful for practices that are under most strain’ then ’the funding is there [and] that can happen this year’.

What are the immediate measures?

NHS England chief executive said there were a number of immediate measures outlined in the Forward View for 2016/17. He listed:

Readers' comments (8)

  • It's weak full stop. I have had enough of the shite that gets dumped our way. It's not general practice as you know it Jim.

    Responsibility for everything and liability for everything. No one is coming to help. The cavalry ain't coming.

    I am leaving aged 50.

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  • Agree with above. In essence targeting the hundreds of struggling practices first seems reasonable, however it will not retain the rest of us who cannot keep going at this level of pressure. As a result its not going to help recruitment or renention any time soon.

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  • Dear All,
    An immediate £50,000 per year cash dump into our bottom lines would be the sort immediate support that would actually help. we could then directly employ the extra pairs of hands we need to cope with the workload. £50K per practice is £500M which fits nicely with his 5 year funding growth. Its about 8 pence per patient.
    £16M for the most desperate practices later this year and pharmacists who are employed by others (and thus will just slurp up all that NICE and CQC rubbish) are of no tangible benefit to anyone.
    What practices and the profession need to see is their bottom line in their May statement being the right side of 10% larger.
    Paul C

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  • the worrying thing is that the practices that are on the brink are getting help to prevent them from teetering over the edge.

    This isnt a new glorious chapter, its simply a deal that helps prolong the misery a bit longer.

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  • Agree completely with Dr Cundy-none of this "Package" is going to rescue General practice, regardless of what the RCGP say.

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  • Pathetic. What is wrong with these people that they so adamantly believe they are right and the 100's of GPs who post on Pulse are all just moaning, wrong, or both? We are the ones at the coal face. We know what would help and what wouldn't. The arrogance of our overlords is astonishing. Glad I am nearer the exit than the entrance.

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  • We have just suffered the Great National GMS imposition where practices were all levelled down and lost swathes of funding, albeit with transitional relief. Now surprise! practices are vulnerable and the talk is of buckets of money to support the weakest. Does this make sense to anyone? Also why are the best run practices being ignored when funding is discussed. I always thought you should reward excellence, but not in the NHS. Round and round we go until we disappear up the NHS fundiment.

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  • Pathetic
    Maybe Simon would have more credibility with me if he had not been a prime mover with the other delusional Blair is setting up the national catastrophe called the failed fake internal market that tripled administration costs and probably has wasted north of 100 billion since then and continues to waste five to ten billion yearly

    He is struggling with the wasteful chaos he has lumbered the former super efficient NHS with
    Not very interested in such a failures further delusional blue sky management speak drivel

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