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GPs invited to apply for £50m pilot to extend access and choice of practice

GP practices have been asked to submit proposals for ‘innovative’ ways of improving access by February, including encouraging them to compete with one another for patients outside their boundaries, to receive part of a £50m NHS England fund.

A statement from NHS England follows on from Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of the £50m fund in the autumn, and reiterates plans to fund opening on Saturdays and Sundays.

But it also controversially encourages practices to submit ideas on promoting ‘extending choice by allowing practices to grow their lists and take on patients from outside traditional practice boundary areas’.

It also encourages practices to consider ways of increasing use of consultations via phone, email, webcam and instant messaging, use of online systems of patient registration, and greater use of telecare.

The scheme will be rolled out across the country, NHS England said.

The statement said: ‘NHS England also wants practices or groups of practices wishing to test new models for providing GP services. These bids would show potential benefits around access to services plus demonstrate a more integrated approach to “wrap around” community services;  more integration around urgent care services and extending choice by allowing practices to grow their lists and take on patients from outside traditional practice boundary areas.’

Dr Mike Bewick, a GP and deputy medical director at NHS England, said: ‘We need to address the calls for more convenient services for patients and we need to make better use of the technology we have at our fingertips. 

‘The pilots will enable us to roll out best practice more widely across the NHS and will feed into the review of seven day services. This could be a key moment in the development of the future of GP practices and we want them to come forward and make use of the fund to deliver more personalised patient focused services.’  

‘General practice has demonstrated that it can come up with innovative ways to deliver better more convenient services. This is the time for GPs to play a much stronger role, as part of a more integrated system of out-of-hospital care. These pilots will allow us to develop some of these new models to see how they work on the ground.’

Dr Bewick later told Pulse that the continuity of seeing the same doctor is ‘history’.

He said: ‘Time has moved on. The absolute continuity of seeing one doctor for the rest of your life is probably history, it is not something that happen often these days.’

Readers' comments (19)

  • And in an accompanying statement, the CEO of Bernard Matthews called for expressions of interest from turkeys regarding Christmas

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  • Why don't two non adjacent practices swop patients, then there is no responsibility to do out of hours or home visits.

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  • He's right we do need to address the calls to be more convenient- by reeling the public convenience is not cost effective. The new mantra of the government should be get what you need not what you want!

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  • Sorry telling not reeling!

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  • Rob Mayson - please don't blame the patients, blame the government(s) of recent years who are hell bent on privatisation and commercialisation.

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  • Can someone please explain who will deal with visits for out-of-boundary patients?

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  • Anon 1.55
    I suspect the answer to visits for out of boundaries patients will be local practices as Immediate Necesary Treatment - and unfunded.

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  • £50M for a tele-related, 24 hour service.....

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can we change 111 so it is manned by GPs/ acute care doctors and nurse practitioners with a max ratio of 1Dr:4nurse practitioners. No health advisers, no nurses who are not practitioners and no trying to do it on the cheap.

    They may argue that 50M is not enough, but add in the reduced costs of A+E and ambulance trips and it might add up.

    Option 2. £50M media campaign about how to manage minor illness at home, 24 hours a day - you can add in internet adverts and tick the technology box. Explained how in countries as wide apart as South Sudan and the USA they do not need 24 hour access to GPs and most manage viral infections at home.

    Simple... NHS saved.

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  • £50m is about £1 per patient across the country. My practice, like some of the others posting here, found that implementing the full 30 min per 1000 patients (which no-one can tell me how it was arrived at) was a loss making exercise at considerably more than a quid a head.

    Given the IT support, contractual legalities, and other overheads associated with this crackpot idea, I reckon it will end up in the long grass before too long.

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  • Unfunded - she waved her magic wand and poof "it's in your golden sum - guarenteed in perpituity" said the wicked witch to Aladdin Sane as her nose grew bigger and she started giggling to herself.

    Ohh look here comes David Cameron and merry band to "rob the poor to pay the rich" - more tax cuts for millionaires and lets get our dwarfs at the Daily Wale to give the lazy GPs another good kicking - maggots and dirt - that should fix them for Xmas

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