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GPs given February deadline to bid for premises funding

GP practices wanting to access funding to set up the new ‘multi-specialty community provider’ model of working should come forward with bids by 2 February, NHS England has said.

NHS England planning guidance for 2015/16 revealed that practices that already have advanced plans for the new model of working – which would see GPs offering more services, and even employing consultats – and who will be able to swiftly roll out changes during 2015 will be prioritised.

The document also said a plan to tackle the GP workforce crisis, worked out together with the GPC and RCGP, will be unveiled in January.

GPs trialling new models of working as set out in NHS England’s five-year plan can gain access to a £200 million ‘transformation fund’ set up by the Government to kickstart planned changes to primary care.

The planning guidance, published on Friday, also said that GPs will separately be able to bid for the first tranche of the four-year £1 billion primary care infrastructure fund, but more information on this would be made available in January.

It also revealed NHS England will set up a new planning board tasked with making decisions about the funding for new models, called the ‘New Models of Care Board’.

The guidance document said MCPs – GP-led organisations providing primary, secondary and community care – are one of four models NHS England will pilot in 2015/16, also alongside the hospital-led Primary and Acute Care Systems (PACS), set to employ salaried GPs to work for hospital trusts; a new type of viable smaller hospital; and rolling out enhanced health services within care homes.

The document said: ‘The first cohort of sites will be ones that are in the vanguard, making the strongest progress. They will already have in place: an ambitious vision of what change they want to achieve to the model of care, in order to meet clear identified needs and preferences of their local population; a record of already having made tangible progress towards new ways of working in 2014; a credible plan to make move at serious pace and make rapid change in 2015.’

It added: ‘Local organisations or areas wishing to become first cohort sites are asked to express their interest by Monday 2 February to the new care models team ( We will provide further information on the core requirements of each of the models in early January. Where possible, we will use existing information to inform site selection, rather than rely on long written applications. Some of the first sites will be agreed by February, in a process overseen by the New Models of Care Board, co-chaired by NHS England and Monitor; and the first support programmes will be developed by the end of March.’

The guidance also said the results of its work to reduce the pressure on the GP workforce will shortly be unveiled.

‘Primary care is central to the new population-based health care models described in the Forward View. But general practice is under a great deal of pressure. To tackle some of the immediate workforce issues, NHS England and Health Education England (HEE) have been developing a plan working alongside the RCGP and the GPC, to attract more training doctors into general practice, make better use of the wider clinical workforce in primary care, target measures to support retention and to support clinicians who have left general practice to return. We will publish the plan in January,’ the document said.