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CCG ditches seven-day working scheme after GP opposition

GPs in the north of England have convinced their CCG against plans to make them work seven-day weeks to earn back scrapped LES funding, Pulse has learnt.

NHS Wirral CCG has ditched plans to roll out a £3m ‘Primary Care Access Scheme’, which was part-funded by £1.4m worth of decommissioned LESs.

After delaying the rollout, which had been scheduled for April, the CCG has now said it has ‘no plans’ to go ahead with the scheme and is in discussion with the LMC about other ways to recycle scrapped LES funding into GP services.

A spokesperson for the CCG said: ‘The CCG is currently considering a range of options for investment in primary care. The CCG already commissions an extended hours LES, which has been commissioned for a number of years, and NHS England commissions the extended hours DES from Wirral practices.’

‘The CCG has no plans to commission any other schemes that focus on extending hours outside core GP practice opening hours.’

Dr Abel Adegoke, Wirral LMC honorary secretary, said: ‘We have resolved the issue on the access scheme. It is dropped now. We are working together with the CCG to come up with a primary care improvement scheme acceptable to majority of GPs that will be funded through the money from retired LES.’

There had been talk of a vote of no confidence, but Dr Adegoke said that there was ‘no interest in [a] vote of no confidence now’ that the scheme had been dropped.

Wirral GP and medical secretary of mid Mersey LMC Dr Ivan Camphor, who was involved in the discussions with the CCG, said: ‘[The CCG was] very apologetic. They recognised the fact that GPs were very unhappy, and clearly there was a groundswell of opinion against what they were trying to enforce, and that came out very cleary. I reminded them again that this is a member organisation, they are representing us, not the other way around. It is not the bad old days of the PCTs when they told us what to do. And that message has got through I think, loud and clear.’

However, the LESs decommissioned from 1 April – including for chronic kidney disease, vascular disease, end-of-life care, osteoporosis and diabetes – are not being brought back.

Dr Camphor said: ‘They have been discontinued, which is a shame because the quality of services for patients will plummet. End-of-life anticipated drugs we can’t prescribe anymore because we haven’t got the funding or manpower to do more, over and above what our contract is.’

The CCG spokesperson said: ‘There were a number of local enhanced services that came to an end on 31 March 2014, and a number that are continuing into 2014/15. The CCG takes into account a range of factors when considering its commissioning priorities, including patient outcomes and value for money, and this was taken into account when considering which local enhanced services should be continued, and which would come to an end.’

The Wirral access scheme was intended to offer patients 8am-8pm access to GPs on weekdays and for four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays, mirroring the Government’s hotly-debated £50m access campaign.