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Independents' Day

GPs' premises plans under £1bn scheme will need CCG sign-off

GPs will now require CCG sign off on plans to improve their premises after NHS England overhauled the terms of its £1bn scheme to improve primary care premises fund in its second year.

In a letter to CCGs on Wednesday, NHS England invited commissioners to submit ‘support for the funding of improvements or developments in practices in your CCG area’.

The GPC has said it is concerned about the overhaul of the scheme, with the first year already mired in delays, and warned that the changes would see funding meant for GP premises ‘siphoned’ off into other projects.

The bids for the second round of funding will have until 2019 to complete - an extension that the GPC have said should also apply to this year’s bids. 

The letter, from NHS England national director of commissioning operations Dame Barbara Hakin, sets criteria to be met before funding from the newly rebranded ‘Primary Care Transformation (formerly Infrastructure) Fund’ is approved.

The criteria include:

  • Increased capacity for primary care services out of hospital;
  • Commitment to a wider range of services as set out in commissioning intentions to reduce unplanned admissions to hospital;
  • Improving seven-day access to effective care;
  • Increased training capacity.

In March, NHS England announced 1,000 practices had had their plans for premises improvements approved for funding in 2015/16, prioritising outstanding bids that could be accomplished quickly and those that would support seven-day working and care of the elderly.

But GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said there had been significant delays in the first tranche of funding, adding: ‘The reality on the ground is that the scheme has been fraught with delays and administrative hurdles, with large numbers of promised improvements to GP practices across the country yet to start.

‘Just as worryingly, it now appears that some of the funding may now be siphoned off into other projects and priorities. This is simply unacceptable: ministers promised this funding would improve GP services infrastructure and they should stick to that commitment.

‘We will be immediately raising our concerns with NHSE and demanding an explanation of how we are going to rescue this faltering programme.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • Does it make sense this whole farce of government funding?
    I applied for funds for replacement of taps and sinks and for installation of a stair lift with an aim to improving access.

    I have been allowed funds to spend on the taps and skin but the lift was disregarded. Condition for funding - Minimum spend on taps and wash basin must be £5000 !! I probably need to buy golden ones because there's no way I am going to meet the criteria.
    On the other hand, my patients with immobility problems will never be able to attend PPG Meetings as the stair lift has been disregarded.
    To be honest, I could have just made that 5000 limit because that is as much the stair lift was quoted at and the taps could have been an own expense as it was a CQC requirement anyway. Now we can't avail of the funding and NHS Prop Services can say we did allocate funding to the Practice.
    Welcome to my transparent world of NHSE/Property Services in Kent and Medway.
    After months of trying to get my sickness reimbursement and questioning why other Practices have Fringe details taken into account for payments while my Practice has these disregarded, I conclude that my patients in deprived Strood belong to a lower category of human beings. Not the right breed or probably they do not pay enough taxes. It's them and us, isn't it in the world of Lords and Ladies.

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  • @Sanjeev Juneja
    Would it not be cheaper than a lift if the PPG meetings relocated to the ground floor?

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  • Unfortunately, not.
    Practices with real narrow stairs have these installed and can have meetings in proper meeting rooms, so don't think I should be afflicting visitors to inconvenient seating despite having a proper meeting room facility. It's not just patients but also staff members allied partners visiting for meetings and even CCG and NHSE visitors who may at some stage need this extra aid.
    I personally have had to struggle upstairs after an accident and know what it means.
    For argument sake, one might as well have meetings in patient waiting areas but I think one needs to be reasonable.

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  • CQC inspection has cost us so far over £6,000 to meet their demands, none of which has anything to do with direct patient care, but mainly to tick regulation boxes re-premises.
    Can we claim?

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  • "let us sit upon the ground, as Kings telling sad stories...."
    I take my hat off to the DoH, you have played us really well !

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