Exclusive GPs in one area of England are set to receive an extra £12.70 per patient to deliver seven-day access and improve cancer outcomes from July.
NHS Stockport CCG has also committed to providing each practice with a 4G-enabled computer tablet to help with home visits.
The CCG has agreed to give every practice in the area £6.30 per patient – a total of £1.9m across 300,000 patients – to deliver the ‘Greater Manchester primary care standards’, with £1.5m coming from NHS England’s funding to transform healthcare.
The ten standards include improving access to general practice and improving health outcomes for patients with cancer and mental illness.
On top of this, the CCG is also planning to give £6.40 per patient to the local GP federation, Viaduct Health, which covers all 44 practices in Stockport, to provide seven-day services and work at scale.
The investment comes ahead of a further £6 per head promised to CCGs in 2019 to improve access to general practice.
According to the CCG, the funding is part of a larger multi-million pound investment in the federation, which has yet to be finalised, to develop ‘collaborative general practice’ that will see GPs working across ‘neighbourhoods’ of 30,000-50,000 patients.
Dr Alexander Eaton, interim chief executive of Viaduct Health, said: ‘It’s a fantastic investment into general practice. It will help to improve resilience and enhance the excellent service already provided to patients by the practices. It provides the opportunity for innovation and also closer working with colleagues in adult social care, third sector, mental health and secondary care.’
He added that the federation will be working closely with these other sectors to find ‘the best way to use the funds to provide general practice at scale’.
Pulse reported in March that NHS England will fund practices to form super practices or federations with 30,000-50,000 patients so that by 2019 all practices will have formed collaborative ‘local care networks’.
Dr Ranjit Gill, clinical chair for NHS Stockport CCG, also told Pulse that each practice will soon be given computer tablets loaded with the EMIS system to use for home visits so GPs can ‘share clinical record information across the Stockport health system’.
Dr Gill said the extra funding will help GPs ‘manage in an environment where workload is rising’, adding that practices have said the extra funding ‘is really welcome’.
He said: ‘Until now our resource for general practice has been shrinking and our aim is to help stabilise general practice with funding and help them manage their workload more safely.’
But he added that there is ‘a long way to go to redress the decade long disinvestment that has taken place’.
Seven-day access to GP appointments by 2019
The Tory Party announced in their election manifesto last week that every GP will be expected to provide seven day access by 2019 – one day earlier than was previously planned.
This follows an announcement in March by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that GP wait times will be published in a bid to see access to GP appointments improving as a result of the increased investment into the general practice workforce.
NHS England has promised £6 per patient to CCGs to help them extend access from 2019 in the GP Forward View and a further £500m to enable CCGs to commission ‘access to GP services, including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand’.
But a Government audit revealed that seven day access costs 50% more than routine hours appointments and yet has ‘no demonstrable impact’ on either emergency admissions or out-of-hours services.