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Local NHS managers want to take charge of GP Forward View funding

Regional NHS managers in North East London have requested to take over the funding promised in NHS England’s GP rescue package.

In one of 13 ‘asks’ outlined in the area’s sustainability and transformation plan – led by NHS Tower Hamlets CCG chair Jane Milligan – they request ‘that the resources identified in the GP Year Forward View to support the management of workload and care redesign are delegated to the STP to manage’.

The plan added that the use of the funds would be overseen by ‘a new governance arrangement’, involving GP federations, RCGP and LMCs, ‘to deliver the support and improvements we need at pace’.

Resources laid out in the GP Forward View earlier this year include several funding streams to support creating a larger, more efficient workforce, improved infrastructure and care redesign, totalling £2.4 billion. 

Dr Jackie Applebee, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, said that, while the GP Forward View is ‘not enough to stabilise general practice’, she would rather the funds were delegated to local commissioners, ‘and we worked out collaboratively how to manage it together’. 

She said: ‘I would rather there was some local governance on how it was spent because I think that every area is different. But I think all of this stuff is window dressing.’

Dr Applebee said the danger of transferring the funding to a local level could be that it is used ‘to plug the gap in the acute sector’.

‘It must absolutely be ring-fenced for general practice,’ she said.

A spokesperson for the STP said there are ‘no further details’ on the ask, adding that the document is out for consultation, so ‘until we get a view from NHS England and other stakeholders and respondees, we wouldn’t be establishing the arrangements’.

The spokesperson also highlighted that receiving the funding would not remove primary care in the area from national negotiations over GP contracts.

The 44 STPs around England have been asked to come up with future plans for a sustainable NHS in their regions, in collaboration between local authorities, trusts and commissioners.

Earlier this week, Pulse reported that two councils had rejected their STP because it did not pledge sufficient funding to general practice.