GPs will be paid to manage patients with eating disorders under a new local enhanced service worth £40,000 initiated by a CCG.
NHS North Norfolk CCG has initiated the locally enhanced service – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – involving 19 member surgeries to improve care for patients with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia.
Practices are to receive a single payment to cover training costs and then supported for up to 26 weeks at a cost of £100 for every session they hold with patients with the condition. Payment for monitoring patients will depend on the numbers involved.
GPs will be trained by the Norfolk Community Eating Disorder Service (NCEDS), where all patients will also be referred for expert care, advice and support.
Practices will follow guidelines on patients’ individual monitoring plans drawn up by NCEDS, and maintain a register of all those receiving care under the scheme.
Dr Penny Ayling, a GP in Aylsham and Reepham, and the CCG’s lead on mental health, said: ‘GPs and NCEDS felt the previous shared care arrangements needed strengthening. The care of eating disorder patients can be complex but the new scheme will ensure that GPs feel confident and supported to carry out their part.’
Jaco Serfontein, a consultant psychiatrist and lead clinician at NECEDS, said: ‘This new set-up will ensure that there is more expertise in surgeries, and allow patients to have their health monitored locally on a regular basis by the GP who knows them best.’
A spokesperson for North and East London Commissioning Support Unit, which covers the Norfolk region, said: ‘The funding for this LES is based on activity, so practices are paid according to the number of patients they see. It is not possible to predict activity in advance.’
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