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Gold, incentives and meh

What is in the support package for general practice?

NHS England has announced a range of measures in the General Practice Forward View. This is what we know so far.


The headline announcement is that funding for general practice will increase by 14% in real terms, with investment increasing by £2.4bn a year. This is equivalent to 10% of the NHS budget going into primary care, according to NHS England.

This will be supplemented with a Sustainability and Transformation package of one-off investments, which will add up to more than half a billion pounds, which will be used for the other measures set out in the Forward View.

Mental health support

£16m is going into mental health support to enable GPs to access ‘free, confidential local support and treatment for mental health issues’, to tackle stress and burnout. The scheme is expected to start from December 2016, with procurement starting from June this year.


As well as pushes to recruit more doctors (including more than 500 overseas GPs and improving the returner and retainer schemes), NHS England plans to invest in 3,000 mental health workers for general practice by 2020 and 1,000 more physician associates. There are also plans to provide £112m for 1,500 pharmacists with the aim that every practice in England will have access to a clinical pharmacist.

There will also be £15m for practice nurse development, £45m over five years for practices to help reception and clerical staff and £6m for practice manager development. There will also be pilots to explore the role of physiotherapists in general practice and a ‘medical assistant’ role.


The document rules out crown indemnity but NHS England says it will consult on ways to reduce the burden of indemnity, putting forward proposals by July 2016.

CQC inspections

The CQC will be moving to a ‘risk-based’ approach with practices that are ‘good’ our ‘outstanding’ being inspected every five years.

Secondary care

Hospitals will be banned from adopting policies that mean patients who fail to attend outpatient appointments are automatically discharged and have to be re-referred by their GP as a contractual change from this month. Hospitals will also have to show evidence that they’ve taken into account GP feedback when considering service redesign, send discharge summaries electronically for inpatient, day case or A&E care within 24 hours and supply patients with medication after discharge from inpatient or day case care.


New rules will allow NHS England to fully fund costs for premises developments from September 2016.


The package includes an 18% funding increase for CCGs for general practice IT services and a £45m programme to increase the uptake of online consultations in every practice. The e-referrals system will be upgraded and there will also be funding for free wifi in practices.

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Ok so it's a package for primary care, not general practice.

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  • General Practice needs more GPs and larger and more up to date premises to house them.
    All the other services can be commissioned or sub contracted by the Practice.
    PS 20 years ago our local pharmacists looked after our patients with minor illnesses but NHS Direct put paid to this.
    A general overhaul of health provision is the only long term solution, but in the interim invest in general practice for value for money

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  • There will be no need to import overseas GPs if government could reward the locally trained GPs. The reason British GPs are leaving is because they are under paid, undervalued despite providing an excellent service. Hope the government/Health department realises that the situation is dire.

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  • We had this overseas doctors before ...we know what happened.
    Pharmacy can be good, but a local well funded practice failed to
    Answer when challenged on outcomes..all we know lots of money paid out in Dorset with no reports to read.
    If doctors can't manage medicines , this needs challenging as I attended these meetings and had lots to hear from a practice, but that was over 10 years ago and little since.

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  • We've already been given the free WiFi . Not sure that anyone has used it, bit of a waste of money really.

    Bit sad that one of the first things mentioned is the mental health support for stress and burnout.

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  • Sad to hear about amounts of money that are promised, but never really paid !

    The End of a great service, destroyed by Generation Zero !

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  • Package sounds a lot but in practice will benefit large practice for allow Feds to justify their existence by employing PAs, Pharmacist as access to them is limited by list size needed.
    Cost to preparing for CQC inspection for small practices is out of proportion to the list size and their income.Small Practices may be meeting all the basic requirement yet fail an inspection due how their performance is measured .e.g Targets for immunisations are statistically bias against small practices and voluntary yet some inspectors consider failure to meet them as failure to protect children.In this case it is CCG which should be targeted by CQC as funds are spent by them and not the practice or make the targets compulsory.
    The continuity of care,personal knowledge of patients nearness to patients and many intangible which results in care which patients value is not taken into consideration when making an inspection.

    Therefore if NHSE is serious they distribute the funds on basis of practice and allow them make their own shopping list of goodies.
    (e.g. PAs,PMs,MAs .or RCGP .

    If £ 2300000000 is distributed to all practices equally, each practice will have £120000 per year to invest in improving the practice instead of blowing the money on projects which not produce any tangible improvement except more bureaucracy

    This of course unpalatable to vested interests.

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