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GPs offered £350 per session to boost in-hours access

GPs are being offered £350 for each additional session they offer in-hours and training to streamline their practices, under a new CCG scheme to boost appointments in primary care.

Pulse has learnt that East Lancashire CCG is piloting a new scheme where practices are paid £350 for each additional 2.5-hour clinical session - including one hour administration time - during core hours.

The CCG is also offering additional funding of just under £1,000 funding for GPs to attend ‘action learning workshops’ on managing capacity and demand and engage their practice team in implementing what they have learnt. Practices undertaking the extended hours DES will also be offered additional funding to open even later.

The CCG said the pilot was aimed at reducing demand on urgent care services and improving patient experience of primary care.

A spokesperson said: ‘Access to GP services, appointments, professionals, information and prescriptions were identified as key themes during the development of the [local primary care] strategy by both member practices and patients and as a result ensuring equitable access to a range of responsive, quality primary care services is currently a key area of work for the CCG.’

The CCG said it hoped that all 62 member practices would take part and that around half had signed up to date. In addition, 16 practices have applied for funding to provide extra in-hours sessions and 17 to provide more sessions during extended hours.

The scheme follows a number from CCGs around the country to ease pressure on A&E departments and as the Government has also invited bids on its own £50m pilot scheme to trial seven-day access to GPs.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Bornjovial

    I think the 2004 contract was changed when the average consultation rate was 2.5 to 3.5/1000 patients per year. Now it probably hovers around 6 (citation needed). If GPC can negotiate the 2015 contract as offering 3 GP consultations per 1000 patients/yr any more capacity than that would have to be paid via local access enhancement programmes by LAT or CCG. This will prevent inner city/town practices with high consultation rates from closing down.

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  • ?Is this enough to cover costs

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  • No

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  • What is the access in terms of surgeries provided and patients seen in this area,I wonder if is below the national average in which case do the members of the CCG have a conflict of interest

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  • At least it's funded, but we couldn't take up this offer (in house) if we wanted to - all clinicians at capacity.

    We could use the money to hire a locum although I suspect the money wouldn't be that far away from break even.

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  • In our area,(east of england),if you could get locums,which you cant.This would not pay for their time.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    We were also at breaking point last year. When I founded my practice in 1995, consultation rate about 3.2/pt/year. Latest government figures are for 2009 and suggest 5.8/pt/yr. We are now running at 8+/pt /year. Resources are diminishing. Something has to change.
    On 9th December, we changed to total doctor triage using the Patient Access scheme. It felt like leaping off a cliff with a total change to the way I had been working for 30 years.
    What has happened? Patients all have speedy access to their own doctor, continuity is up to 79%, all problems dealt with on the same day. Patient satisfaction enormously improved. See comments on the NHS Choices site for Phoenix Surgery, Swindon.
    We had fallen into the trap of paying ever more for locums, some of whom were brilliant, some of whom brought most patients back to see a partner. Our incomes were going down the pan and I was trying to work out how to retire. I am now looking forward to coming to work in the morning and would commend this system to all my colleagues (usual disclaimers - I have no financial interest - but great interest in excellence of access and care). Incidentally makes talk of 7 day access irrelevant - see my article in BMJ 2013;347:f6832

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  • 100% Telephone triage is always fantastic when you first start it. The problems will come later.

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  • Telephone triage is just one way of trying to change the model of general practice which has essentially stayed the same since the War. For those waiting for more money I think its going to be a long wait

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  • How do they decide the baseline? Is the baseline based on a set number of appointments/ sessions per 1000 patients OR based on what is currently set.

    If the former, practices will massage figures (not illegally) to get more money. Practices seeing 5 extras at the end of the session, will aggregate those into an extra session each day. Look for practices to have a higher number of double appointments and stricter enforcing of one problem per appointment.

    If the later scheme, it seems to penalise those that already provide a good service/ good number of appointment and reward those that currently see fewest appointments (to the cost of their patients).

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