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£250m package is ‘a real recognition’ of pressure on GPs, say NHSE leaders

£250m package is ‘a real recognition’ of pressure on GPs, say NHSE leaders

GPs should take the £250m winter access fund as a ‘real recognition of the pressure that general practice is under’, Ed Waller, director for primary care strategy at NHS England, has said.

Speaking at a primary care virtual conference yesterday (4 November), hosted by NHS Confederation, Mr Waller told Rakesh Marwaha, PCN network board member at the confederation, that the money comes at a time when ‘there’s an awful lot of opportunity to spend public money on all parts of the public sector’.

Mr Marwaha told Mr Waller that general practice is not feeling supported by the NHS, to which Mr Waller replied: ‘I understand that some people do feel that way. I do think people should take the existence of the winter access fund in its own right as a real recognition of the pressure that general practice is under.’

In NHS’s primary care bulletin sent yesterday evening (4 November), Mr Waller and NHS England’s primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani said they want to help set primary care on a ‘supported and optimistic course, recognising the complex challenges we have been facing’.

Referring to the access plan, they urged GPs to ‘read the document itself, rather than simply the commentary around it, because the plan does provide support for some of the things that practices tell us needs to happen’.

The bulletin said: ‘While we can’t ignore the concerns from some patients and patient groups who have struggled to get the care they need, neither do we ignore what GPs and their teams are telling us would make a difference.’

The bulletin also said that ‘all practices can access support’, despite previously confirming that ‘some practices in receipt of enhanced support will not be eligible for funding’.

‘For practices that are in most need of support, additional help outside of simple funding will be crucial – money alone won’t help,’ they argued.

It comes as the BMA and some LMCs have advised GPs ‘not to engage’ with the access plan, while other LMCs are against the BMA action or still deliberating.

In another talk at the conference, Dr Kanani and NHS England’s chief executive Amanda Pritchard were asked how GPs and their leaders actually start addressing some of the negative views from the media together.

Dr Kanani said PCNs should share the ‘stories that I know you have’.

‘Because I think one of the difficult things is, and our comms teams are always trying to do this, we’re putting out press releases to support general practice and primary care networks.

‘But we want to be able to tell those incredible stories as well. We tell them sometimes they get picked up, sometimes they don’t, but please help us to really showcase some of what primary care is doing.’

Ms Pritchard agreed that ‘some of that I think hasn’t had, perhaps, the airtime that we would like it to have had’.

‘I think that’s certainly something we can collectively work harder at to make sure that we are promoting and shining a light on all of those extraordinary examples and more.’ 

Dr Pramit Patel, GP and chair of the PCN network at the NHS Confederation, also asked Ms Pritchard: ‘how are we going to address the perception that primary care isn’t an equal partner?’, to which she said she does not see any part of the NHS ‘as being less important’ and that funding allocated to PCNs shows this.

In the closing address at the conference, Dr Gary Howsam, vice chair of RCGP and GP, said the general practice workforce was ‘quite frankly knackered’.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Turn out The Lights 5 November, 2021 11:06 am

Its not new money its recycled so its a slap in the face.No support a little no existent carrot before being hit with the big stick we were threatened with.

Decorum Est 5 November, 2021 11:16 am

‘While we can’t ignore the concerns from some patients and patient groups who have struggled to get the care they need, neither do we ignore what GPs and their teams are telling us would make a difference.’

That’s patently untrue. Yes have taken on-board the wishes of various I’ll-informed, single-issue groups of patients
you have declined to make any useful contribution to primary care delivery ( ending the ill considered and destructive appraisal system would cost you nothing but would be appreciated and demonstrate some Insight BUT less than £4 per annum per patient in inflationary times is frankly an insult.m

Simon Gilbert 5 November, 2021 1:14 pm

The package for GPs applied to a full A/E department would state “Given you are running at 130% capacity with ambulances backed up outside the department and patients bedded down due to lack of beds we will give you a short term 1% funding boost. Of course we can’t trust you won’t waste this money so if you don’t increase activity to 150% over the next few months we’ll ask for the money back.”

Cameron Wilson 5 November, 2021 3:08 pm

How any self respecting GP can work for that lot defeats me!

Nicholas Sharvill 5 November, 2021 5:29 pm

compared to what was given to Deloitte and other consultants , plus the fiasco of test and trace and ppe this is small change, and sadly reflects what NHSE thinks of primary care perhaps

Patrufini Duffy 5 November, 2021 5:34 pm

You know what you can do with this poxy money? _ OPEN THE WALK-in CENTRES.
Go on – do it. Then your public can have all the Face to Face they sorely miss for the toenail, panic attack and UTI-post Christmas prosecco. Go on, open the walk-in centre – 21st centuary solution without the need for NHSX and apps – no? Ah…is there a problem with that idea? Is it a workforce or money issue, do you not want the face to face, limitless, forever and ever? “Your” public won’t have to struggle anymore, they can offload A+E and sit in another nice warm waiting room watching Strictly Come Dancing replays and Loose Women whilst playing Minesweeper. Face to Face – 8-8 – all week long. Money can grow on trees if you want it to – and you procure the right friends. Go just do it, open them. Covid’s over.

David Evans 5 November, 2021 6:09 pm

Of course the devil is in the detail of this rather inadequate offer.
If I am correct a practice will have to provide receipts to show extra clinical expenditure during the previous months to provide the necessary service .
This does not address the situation in which a practice “just got on with it “ to provide the necessary service without employing extra clinical staff.

A trifle unfair me thinks.

Douglas Callow 5 November, 2021 9:44 pm

tone deaf completely out of touch and reduced to confabulation
makes you wonder what the plan B NHSE has

Doc Getmeout 6 November, 2021 7:59 am

Mr Waller is talking from another planet as 250m fund is a “real” recognition.
Most GPs will not be able to access this meagre funds for non existent locums to support their workload!
He is not a GP at the coalface and is talking shxx.
Nothing real here!!

Samir Shah 7 November, 2021 7:45 am

The majority of the document is a farce. It looks like Mr Waller thinks of General practice in a similar way to a homeless dog being fed 2 pieces of scraps, then beating the dog with a large stick.

Decorum Est 8 November, 2021 1:34 am

In my mind, the problem is increasingly crystallising and the realistic options aren’t pleasant.
There are only three realistic options:
1. Stay in the fabulous NHS, that has given us quality medical care, free, since we were born etc – saved the sick and their family from bankruptcy etc – almost a religious as well as a socio-political institution. BUT the care providers are increasingly disillusioned and so the bedrock service providers dissolve.
2. Medical Care in UK goes private and we adopt all the ‘nastiness’ that exists in USA ‘medical practice’.
3. We come to some ‘sensible’, functional, ‘just and caring’ system, where providers are properly rewarded for their efforts and not constantly harassed by the legal/regulatory system.
TAKE YOUR PICK – YOU CAN ONLY HAVE ONE (and that is going to be …

Robert James Andrew Mackenzie Koefman 8 November, 2021 3:17 pm

Hopefully for once the profesion will unite and reject this offer

Paul Cundy 10 November, 2021 7:49 pm

Dear All,
5th November, inflammatory comment Dr Kanani? The £250 million plus name and shame and income declarations, yes thats “Real recognition”, real recognition of what a warped view of the world you have. Did you ever know Dr Froggatt?
Paul C