GP practice income will be boosted by a new £120m Covid fund for six months from April, NHS England has announced.
The extension to the Covid fund will ‘support the expansion of capacity until the end of September,’ a letter to GPs and CCGs said.
It will involve monthly allocations of £30m in April and May and £20m in June and July with £10m in August and September.
The letter from the director of primary care Ed Waller and medical lead Dr Nikki Kanani said the money should be used to meet the priorities set out in the original Covid fund announcement in November such as increasing capacity and tackling backlog for chronic disease management.
NHS England thanked GPs for the work they had done and continued to do to support the response to the pandemic which was ‘greatly valued and appreciated’.
‘It remains a priority to maintain and expand general practice capacity in order to support the ongoing response to Covid-19, tackle the backlog of care, and continue to support delivery of the vaccination programme.
‘To provide further support to general practice at this critical moment, we are extending the General Practice Covid Capacity Expansion Fund for the period from 1 April to 30 September 2021. £120 million of revenue funding will be allocated to systems, ringfenced exclusively for general practice, to support the expansion of capacity until the end of September.’
Full use must also be made of PCN payments under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme with a target of 15,000 full time equivalent roles being in place by the end of the year, it said.
It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock announced £6.6bn Covid funding for the first six months of the next financial year to tackle a backlog of elective procedures and enabling safe early discharge.
Initially there had been no information on how much, if any, would be allocated to general practice.