NHS England has said that regional plans to improve access to GP practices will be agreed ‘by the end of this week’.
The plans will include the list of the 20% of worst-performing local practices identified by ICSs as well as details of actions to improve access in these practices and across all practices in the area, it added.
NHS England slides presented at its latest GP webinar, held last night, said: ‘Regions and systems have developed and continue to iterate plans. They are currently being reviewed nationally and will be agreed by the end of this week.’
The plans cover ‘the identification of up to 20% of GP practices within the system that require enhanced support to improve access for their patients and the actions that will be taken to support them’ as well as ‘actions relating to improving access and patient experience across all practices in the ICS’, they added.
‘National [and] regional teams will continue to work with local systems to support delivery of these plans.’ they said.
The slides also reiterated that NHS England will not publish ‘league tables’ or the names of practices identified for access improvement measures by ICSs.
They said: ‘We cannot identify the practices that need additional support without data and intelligence. We will not be publishing league tables or names of practices that ICSs and regions have agreed need additional support to improve access for patients.
‘We understand the limitations of national data and the need to use a range of data sources. We need to rely on local information and perspectives to develop plans and allocate funding.’
Meanwhile, the slides said that the winter access funding linked to NHS England’s GP access plan is ‘being newly allocated to primary care’.
‘This is not existing CCG resource which may previously have been deployed to support over winter locally’, they added.
And they said that NHS England has set up a ‘task and finish group’ to work on the promised campaign against abuse towards NHS staff that will be launched alongside a ‘wider toolkit of support to help practices and other primary care providers manage the risk of violence, abuse and microaggressions in primary care and get their staff the support they need’.
The group will be ‘undertaking further engagement work with patients, practices, networks and other primary care representatives to refine the approach over the coming weeks’, the slides added.
Under NHS England’s GP access plan, ICSs were told to submit a list of the 20% of practices in their area that are performing worst in terms of access by 28 October to face ‘immediate’ action.
And NHS England has said that final funding allocations for the winter access fund would be confirmed to ICSs from this week.
Meanwhile, GPs were given until 14 November to vote in the BMA’s indicative ballot to determine whether or not they want to take industrial action against the Government’s access plan. Results of the ballot are due to be announced on 18 November.