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NHS England announces ‘flawed’ £250m package for general practice


rescue package


The NHS has announced winter funding of £250m for general practice to ‘increase the proportion of appointments delivered face to face’, it has announced today.

But the BMA has said that the package is ‘flawed and patient care will suffer as a result’.

A statement released by NHS England has said the money can be used by practices to fund ‘locums and support from other health professionals’, including physiotherapists and podiatrists.

Practices that ‘do not provide appropriate levels of face-to-face care’ will not be given funding, the statement said, but would be ‘offered support to improve’.  

Health secretary Sajid Javid said that he was ‘determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live’, and said the plan will help tackle ‘underperformance’.

This package follows months of lobbying from sections of the media for practices to see patients face to face, while My Javid said it was ‘high time’ GPs offer more face-to-face appointments.

The statement said:

  • the NHS will increase its oversight of practices with the most acute issues in relation to access, with GP appointment data to be published at practice level by spring next year as opposed to CCG level, as it currently is.
  • patients will get the opportunity to rate their practice’s performance, via text message, based on their most recent experience of accessing support
  • There will be a focus on ‘increasing capacity to boost urgent same-day care’
  • The NHS will support ‘upgrades to telephone systems’
  • The Government will ‘reduce administrative burdens on GPs’ by reforming FIT notes and DVLA checks and who can provide them.
  • There will be practical steps on infection control measures in GP settings, as trailed yesterday
  • The NHS, the Government and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges will develop a zero-tolerance campaign on abuse of NHS staff, including GP teams. 

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘After weeks of promising an “emergency package” to rescue general practice, we’re hugely dismayed that whilst additional funding has been promised, the package as a whole offers very little and shows a Government completely out of touch with the scale of the crisis on the ground.

‘GPs and their teams will now be facing the worst winter for decades, and as a result, patients’ care will suffer. Appointments will be harder to book, waiting times will get longer, more of the profession could leave and GPs will struggle to cope.

‘It is also disappointing to see that there is no end in sight to the preoccupation with face-to-face appointments; we need a more intelligent conversation about the variety of appointments and care that are available to patients to meet their needs.’

Mr Javid said: ‘I am determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live. I also want to thank GPs and their teams for their enormous efforts in the most challenging times in living memory.       

‘Our new plan provides general practice teams with investment and targeted support. This will tackle underperformance, taking pressure off staff so they can spend more time with patients and increase the number of face-to-face appointments.’

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READERS' COMMENTS [22]

Doc Getmeout 14 October, 2021 7:11 am

This is all about “name and shame” and underperformance data and penalties.

So what about naming and shaming and sacking the underperformance of a Prime minister and his ministers in failings of handling the Covid crisis and unnecessary deaths on a recent report.

Rules for them not us!

Simon Macartney 14 October, 2021 8:13 am

Waited for the cavalry and got the trojan horse – designed to destroy the system and the few shreds of morale we had left
If general practice survives, this will go down as the point it finally disintegrated into a shambles !!!

Cameron Wilson 14 October, 2021 8:58 am

Joe Public hasn’t got a clue what is coming! When you look around this country at the moment a total reality check is around the corner. Years of flagrancy with no contingency planning has come home to roost! Suppose we get what we vote for !
Am afraid it’s every man for himself , we have been set up as the fall guys and have more than done our bit to keep the ship afloat, the time to abandon it has arrived.

Douglas Callow 14 October, 2021 9:18 am

HMC with 4 or 5 year terms is inherently unstable buffeted by ratings headlines and anything but agile and nimble not to mention stable or prone to good decision making

Offering choice ignores the critical state we are in due to bad decisions they made around public services with waiting lists workforce capacity and money a consequence.

Add to that punitive tax and pensions and even if you wanted to do extra work it means for many it would be non viable

Subhash Chandra Bhatt 14 October, 2021 9:22 am

All depends on what individual practices get and how much money is needed for locums and physician associates etc and how long funding will last.

Turn out The Lights 14 October, 2021 9:29 am

As the theme song for GP land goes ‘No More f@@@s to give’. This is not a support package but a swift kick in the groin for GPs. More than one at that. Just dont care anymore, we will carry on regardless of these fools.

Patrufini Duffy 14 October, 2021 9:33 am

Proactive and orchestrated destruction of a good noble profession.
Well done. A sick sick country:

– Increase your referrals
– Set Face to Face appointments to 30 minutes like hospital Consultants
– Say no to anything not in your remit/competence/core contract
– Opt out of the PCN before they shackle you indefinitely with data shaming
– Tell the patient to re-register if they threaten you, document that impact on your staff
– Keep your staff safe – as that is your LEGAL obligation under H+S law: don’t forget that!
– Turn off the news

Anthony Everington 14 October, 2021 9:44 am

… but it just might get the daily mail off our backs and primary care is now being discussed in the corridors of power in a way it never was before. The hospitals always have been the focus of political discussion and investment. It is about £30,000 per practice – we need to ensure it is spent wisely.

Turn out The Lights 14 October, 2021 9:55 am

You do wonder how Babylon are going to increase face to face, should they not be top of the name and shame league.

Mark Fentanyl 14 October, 2021 10:21 am

It’s just the usual lions led by donkeys garbage. £30000 per practice to employ locums, some of whom will work for exactly 2 hours and insist that the majority of people they see come back within 48 hours. Total investment in secondary care for NHS from 2/30 to 9/21 is

£28 000 000 000

Douglas Callow 14 October, 2021 10:22 am

I doubt very much it will work out as £30,000 per practice This is not all new
money

Julian Spinks 14 October, 2021 10:32 am

The money works out as £3.66 per patient per year.

Michael Mullineux 14 October, 2021 10:34 am

Spot on Patrufini Duffy. Ticked many of those boxes already …

Robert James Andrew Mackenzie Koefman 14 October, 2021 10:56 am

Why does someone at the BMA,GPC etc place a whole page newspaper statement telling it as it is that we have no doctors or nurses to do this work and extra money is not the issue. They can keep on spinning the same stuff but it will not help any of us on the ground and by constantly bashing primary care will only make it worse. Someone in power needs to stand up and be counted and stop the media and government making us scapegoats yet again . i could earn a million pounds a year but can still only do the 10 sessions i do now and 12 hour + days. It is not about the money !

Vinci Ho 14 October, 2021 11:00 am

I have been keeping my silence as we were supposed to ‘embrace’ this rescue package until now :
(1) This is a political battle we have to fight to reset both the front and bottom red lines . The public opinions are clearly intensified by those media stirring up the post-apocalyptic anguish and dissatisfaction. There is no doubt that many patients are already suffering but that is not the reason to green-light stretching primary care and GPs beyond their natural limits. Whose fault is that ? I think we should let history judge on that ,as we are right in the middle of a historic moment .
(2) The demeanour of the government, so far , is partly incompetent but also duplicitous. The party propaganda media clearly has been spinning in a way that GPs are the main culprit , started from the moment that ‘GP surgeries are not open’. Perception dominates : a rich with a million pound actually ‘had’ 100 million because people thought he had that.
It begs the question why did the government (NHS England ) allow this perception to dissipate?
(3) One thing then easily leads to another . We are now simply beyond exoneration , at least ,in the eyes of some . The forthcoming deadline for GPs to declare annual incomes beyond £150,000 is a good political tool to implement the last straw on camel’s back . The ‘intrigued’ media would love further spin labelling all of us obstructive , uncooperative and most importantly ‘misusing’ tax-payers’ money .
(4)While I would always argue , the amount of money we earned simply reflected absorption of all the workload left behind in a broken system with rapidly dwindling full time GP numbers . And clearly , the common sense question is why ? The government has already had plenty of time to acknowledge this .
(5) So what now ? The forthcoming national LMC conference is perhaps the last opportunity to make up our mind . Lie down and rot ? Or consider at least some kind of uncooperative movement? (Considering we are already were the ‘bad guys’)
Somebody on this platform already mentioned ‘why don’t we just give them what they ‘want’ ?’ This is clearly not an act of capitulation but rather , we are to provide ONLY face to face consultation for every request but nothing else( forget phone calls , forget e-consultation). Every session is run with a fixed number of appointments for example , 12 appointments for 3 hours .
Of course , every action has a price to pay but I would only quote what Bond said in latest 007 movie (watched it on the first day !):

‘’If we don’t do this , there will nothing left to save ‘’

David Jenner 14 October, 2021 11:15 am

So this discriminates against dispensing doctors and their patients because they cannot access the fund without signing up to the community pharmacy referral scheme which they don’t have nearby!
Industrial action should be mass undated Resignations submitted to BMA from the PCN DES , this does not breach any contract and would stuff the whole ICS agenda !

Doc Getmeout 14 October, 2021 11:20 am

This health minister ( a banker by qualification) has been in the job for a few weeks and HE already knows how GPs SHOULD work?
He at least should have spent time and money in getting feedbacks from patients (consumers) and the GPs (service providers). The hybrid way of working for shop floor GPs will stay here as the future.
It is productive and works for both patient and his Doctor.
Thanks to Daily Mail as the Tory paper, he is happy to ignore the remote working of NHS111 and waits of over 1-2 hours, he is happily will ignore.
He is as all ministers are Politically motivated!!

Turn out The Lights 14 October, 2021 12:25 pm

Lets shut down for 2 weeks after all we’ve all been doing nothing but playing golf , they therefore wouldn’t notice if we shut down for 2 weeks ,I for one would be more than happy to hand back my contract at the moment.

Patrufini Duffy 14 October, 2021 1:10 pm

World leading GPs – belittled by small man syndrome, blue suits with privileges and private healthcare and a C grade in Biology and compassion and A* in toxic narcissism with the Americans who have infiltrated the DoH and Boris’ back pocket. Javid will have Investment banker contacts as do all the high heeled “leaders” who stand on chirard podiums. Do you remember Operose Healthcare? – them and others will be salivating. The way to destabilise the entire system is to refer more. Cause Javid a headache and increase waiting times. That is sad to say but you’re being villified. Or leave. Like care home crises, no one is coming to save you or your family.

Nigel Rowell 14 October, 2021 1:26 pm

There is only one phrase here and I’m sorry if its a bit hackneyed, but… ” The beatings will continue until morale improves”

Patrufini Duffy 14 October, 2021 3:33 pm

Nikki Kanani writes: “I’m taking some time off Twitter because it is toxic and demoralising no matter how hard you work”.

You read right.

Clare Nickalls 16 October, 2021 7:30 pm

Where will all these locums and pharmacists come from.?
It’s smacks a bit like the lack of reality check with
Nightingale hospitals . It’s not thought through very well . Go back to the drawing board please and come back when you are on our side please or we won’t be here anymore.