Exclusive All practices will benefit from the £2.4bn boost in general practice funding announced in the GP Forward View, regardless of contractual status or size, NHS England chief Simon Stevens has said.
In an exclusive interview with Pulse, the NHS England chief executive pledged that the additional investment will not be dependent on GPs forming large federations or multispecialty organisations with hospitals.
He said discussions with the profession would determine exactly how the new investment, a 14% funding increase by 2020, in the Forward View is split between traditional contracts and new models of general practice.
But when pressed on whether a GP today would have to be part of a ’multispecialty community provider’ to get the funding in the Forward View, Mr Stevens said: ‘No, you wouldn’t. The bulk of the programmes that we’re describing here will be available to all practices regardless of the contractual form they’re on, be that GMS, PMS, APMS or the new voluntary contract.’
Mr Stevens also explained that funding to deliver the Prime Minister’s new voluntary contract, for practice federations or organisations with more than 30,000 patients, will be on top of the resources in the Forward View.
He added: ‘The scope of services in the new voluntary contract will be wider than core primary medical services, so that will bring in other funding streams, but that’s on top of the £2.4bn we talked about.’
NHS England has been testing new models of primary care through its Vanguard programm e, which is funding the first MCPs and hospital-led primary and acute systems (PACS). MCPs will see groups of community and primary care providers increasingly take on secondary care services as envisioned in Mr Stevens’ Five Year Forward View.
The GPC has spoken strongly against initiatives driving more hospital takeovers of practices, but Pulse has already shown how a whole town in Hampshire is considering a employment by their MCP as national workforce crises continue.
Mr Stevens explained he expects to see more practices increasing size or federating in the next four years, saying that ‘sharing a more supportive structure’ was an appealing logic to practices.
He added that these organisations address many of the problems facing traditional general practice, by securing investment for large multidisciplinary teams and removing the risk of ‘last partner standing’ situations.
NHS England is looking at changes to regulation for larger group practices which could make them more attractive.
Mr Stevens said this could include ’changes on the way indemnity works, changes to the way that the CQC engage so that rather than inspecting individual practices, it’ll be every five years, but more of a group engagement – there may be a number of reasons why GPs choose to do that, but that will be led by them.’
What is the General Practice Forward View?
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NHS England’s new plan for general practice was announced last week, and committed £2.4bn extra funding a year by 2020 for general practice, and a £508m rescue package over five years.
Alongside this, it has cut the frequency of CQC inspections and introduced measures to prevent hospitals from dumping work onto practices.
However, GPs have said it is short on detail and emergency funding, and have questioned how it will be delivered in practice.