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GPs will receive funding to ensure ‘pre-pandemic appointment levels’, says NHS England

GPs will receive funding to ensure ‘pre-pandemic appointment levels’, says NHS England

GPs are to receive funding to support them to deliver pre-pandemic levels of appointments, including face-to-face-care, NHS England has said.

A new planning document published today revealed that NHS England will soon announce ‘continued investment’ in GP capacity and access for the second half (H2) of 2021/22, which runs from October to March.

The document said: ‘Systems are asked to support practices with access challenges so that all practices are delivering appropriate pre-pandemic appointment levels, including face-to-face care as part of a blended access model. 

‘We will shortly set out details of continued investment in H2 to support general practice capacity and improve access.’

In June, NHS England published a new target for GP practices to deliver appointments ‘at or above’ pre-pandemic levels for 2021/22.

However, at the time it stressed that practices should be ‘consolidating and maximising the use of digital consultation methods’ as part of achieving the target.

It said that practices would be assessed on the number of available GP appointments as well as access to remote consultations.

Meanwhile, NHS England revealed last week that additional Covid funding for general practice for the second half of this financial year is ‘to be confirmed’.

It said the ‘general capacity funding’ to ‘maximise workforce capacity’ for the second half of 2021/22 was ‘TBC’.

It also set out upcoming ‘improvements to remote triage and online consultation access’ in primary care as part of measures to relieve pressure on A&E departments.

But it added that GPs should be striking a ‘balance’ between ‘making best use of technology’ and face-to-face appointments.

Another NHS England planning document, also published today, said that systems should ‘continue to support PCNs and practices to optimise the use of [remote consultation] technologies, including by funding advanced telephony, to improve experience for patients and practice staff’.

It said this follows the ‘successful deployment of remote consultation systems during the pandemic’.

It added: ‘Primary care is under intense pressure. Systems are asked to continue to prioritise local investment and support for general practice as well as PCNs, with a particular focus on GP recruitment and retention and ensuring access for patients.’

The document said that ‘expanding primary care capacity to improve access, local health outcomes and address health inequalities’ is one of six key priorities for the second half of the year.

It comes as the latest official data has revealed that GP practices in England saw five million more patients in August this year compared to the same month last year.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Andrew Jackson 30 September, 2021 3:25 pm

They don’t understand we don’t have the workforce for this-it isn’t about the money!

Bonglim Bong 30 September, 2021 3:31 pm

AJ is right – unless funding results in an increase in the workforce it is not going to work, at all.

All NHS England resources should be directed to increasing the workforce of GPs.

Turn out The Lights 30 September, 2021 3:36 pm

Need more boots on ground as has been said in and editorial.More appointments but less GPs.Are these people as thick as they seem or just plain callous.Maybe both.

Roger Boyle 30 September, 2021 3:39 pm

Need more doctors

PG Paige 30 September, 2021 3:59 pm

This is going to need careful handling by the profession as to the definition of “appointment” as NHS Digital figures quoted by Pulse suggest that there are already more appointments than pre covid – Will you have to pay back for over achievement?

Christine Paterson 30 September, 2021 4:02 pm

I am a GP and I have decided to stop working from 12 Dec until further notice as I really don’t want to be subjected to anymore shit from GBP/NHS especially this winter . The T and C/ money would have to be very attractive and an Hourly Rate in excess of 150 sausages to persuade me otherwise. There are GP’s who could work more if the money was good enough

Andrew Jackson 30 September, 2021 4:10 pm

They may offer money that will pay for additional surgeries with 15 minute appointments, no extras, no interruptions on an enhanced hourly rate and we may find some of our GPs are able to work additional sessions.
Maybe there will be a lesson there somewhere for the long term sustainability of primary care!

Patrufini Duffy 30 September, 2021 4:17 pm

The NHS has tanked.
We’ll just refer more in. And crash it quicker for you. No bonus required, or media sledging via the BBC.

Dr N 30 September, 2021 4:17 pm

increased income = increased pension annual and lifetime issues. They have thoroughly f@cked up the system.

Cameron Wilson 30 September, 2021 5:27 pm

And as they usually do, any new money will come from our own pot eg reduced investment in Practice Development funding! Agree totally, there is no capacity left, will be interesting how this one pans out!

terry sullivan 30 September, 2021 5:48 pm

dvla need to get back to work–or sack the lot

Simon Gilbert 30 September, 2021 8:17 pm

Of course money helps – no point employing staff if there is no funding to pay for them!

Some" Bloke 30 September, 2021 8:18 pm

Make it’s patients choice: you can come for a f2f, but we can’t guarantee distancing or infection control measures adequate to stop you catching Covid. That’s what reception should be saying at the time of booking. It’s their right to make an unreasonable choice. My responsibility ends with offering the choice.
Btw, see lots of potential improvement with seeing patients f2f. So much double booking going on… palpitations.. 5+ minutes of talking, then another appointment to examine, then bloods and ECG… Honestly, if they were just present at first contact, it would all be sorted there and then.
Fighting this neverending tide of patient/societal demand is pointless (forgive me for thinking that our “leaders” might not deliver some time).
Anyway, we are opening back to usual as soon as partitions to waiting rooms arrive. And that “extra funding” (if it arrives) will go to pay for receptionist time to maintain waiting areas clean, guide extremely vulnerable to separate area we still need to build…. Hope there’s any meaningful amount of “it”, but not holding my breath

Sam Tapsell 30 September, 2021 11:05 pm

Remote work and quiet waiting rooms doesn’t help. I think some people want to see a waiting room full of sickly people to know GPs are working hard. Maybe it’s time for that.
Of course with tax and pensions more money is largely pushing on a piece of string.
And we know that media talking about a shortage of petrol didn’t help with demand.
Glad I’m not in charge.

Turn out The Lights 1 October, 2021 9:21 am

Doesnt matter if face to face of remote not enough supply to satisfy demand.Only thing that will happen with more face to face is a quicker winter collapse as even double jabbed receptionist ,nurses paramedics and GPs all get covid on have to be away from work until they feel better.Which ever way this is played GP land is f@@@ed and will collapse.What ever happens the corrupt state will use GPs as the scapegoat for their actions.The NHS has to collapse and we have to build again.

Subhash Chandra Bhatt 1 October, 2021 11:22 am

Funding but what can it be used for?
If more appointments needed then provide practices to employ a gp to clear backlog
Or pay additional money to increase part timers sessions to do additional work.

David Church 1 October, 2021 1:58 pm

This is wierd news : GP appointments are currently reported to be UP massively compared to pre-pandemic.
Govt is offering extra money if we promise to REDUCE appointment numbers back to pre-pandemic levels.
Take it ! – it’s nuts, but so is everything else they have said about the pandemic!!!

Lucy Marchand 2 October, 2021 9:08 am

David Church took the words right out of my mouth – however just waiting to see what big sticvk they’d be beating us with to grab it all back and more!