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All practices in England to be invited to bid for £1bn premises funding

Every GP practice in England will be invited to bid for part of the £1bn funding announced by the chancellor to upgrade premises, the health secretary has said.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Jeremy Hunt said that a letter will be sent to every GP practice in the country inviting them to bid for funding, with the aim of supporting more appointments and ‘proactive care’ for the most vulnerable.

The Government has said that the funding will be used for practices to offer new services, such as dialysis and chemotherapy, but there had been little detail about how practices would receive the funding.

Chancellor George Osborne said in his autumn statement that a total of £1bn was being invested into primary care facilities, in addition to a £200m ‘transformation fund’ to support the creation of the new models of care set out in NHS England’s Five-Year Forward View, which would see practices employing consultants, and hospitals employing GPs.

In health questions in Parliament yesterday, Mr Hunt said:  ‘The chancellor agreed in the autumn statement to support NHS England’s Five-Year Forward View with the £1.7 billion of additional funding that the NHS requested.

‘On top of that, the chancellor allocated £1bn of funding to transform primary care facilities, and I am pleased to announce today that a letter will shortly be sent to every single GP practice in the country, inviting them to bid for the first tranche of that funding with the aim of supporting more GP appointments and more proactive care for the most vulnerable.’

NHS England has called for suggestions from CCGs, practices and hospitals for how they will establish the new models of care outlined in its Five-Year Forward View – multi-specialty community providers (MCPs) and primary acute care services (PACS).

MCPs will involve GP practices providing a far greater range of services than are currently provided, with GPs employing consultants and integrating with mental health, social care and community services.

PACS will be hospital trusts offering primary care services and employing GPs, and will be concentrated in areas where general practice is ‘under strain.