Exclusive GPs are already being targeted for recruitment by hospitals bidding to receive funding to offer primary care services, Pulse has discovered.
Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust (YDHFT) has begun advertising for GPs in preparation for providing primary care services in line with NHS England’s vision for new models of care.
Another hospital – Salford Royal Foundation Trust – has said it is bidding for the £200m funding promised by the Government to pilot new organisations that will provide primary and secondary care, while Pulse understands that Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust will also bid.
LMC leaders in Cumbria, Devon and Lancashire said they were also expecting bids from hospitals to become primary acute care system (PACS), which will employ GPs.
The funding – which is separate from the £250m a year funding from Government to upgrade GP premises – is meant to help both GP practices and hospitals to offer integrated primary and secondary care.
NHS England has said in its Five Year Forward View that the majority of new care organisations will be led by GPs, as so-called ‘multi-specialty community providers’, while PACS will predominantly be established in areas of poor GP recruitment.
Pulse has learnt several hospitals are well advanced in their planning, including one already advertising for salaried GP vacancies.
However, despite the name, it said: ‘The GP orientated post is for a minimum of five sessions weekly, with designated sessions providing inpatient care at Crewkerne Community Hospital and sessions providing Care of the Elderly medical care at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.’
The advert added: ‘As providers of NHS care in South Somerset we’re redesigning the way primary, community and acute care services work together.’
It said the trust is ‘creating new medical roles which will underpin this exciting collaborative approach’.
The advert added: ‘We are now looking for ambitious and enthusiastic doctors (including consultant or qualified GP grade) keen on portfolio working, who will form part of our team of GPs and/or elderly care consultants.’
Chief executive of YDHFT Paul Mears told Pulse that it had been working on a similar project since 2012, but NHS England’s plans provided ‘a helpful framework’.
It is looking at working with 19 local GP practices to care for the 4% most frail elderly patients, because these are currently taking up 50% of the local health and care costs.
He said: ‘We have been very clear that this isn’t about the hospital suddenly setting itself up to run GP surgeries. It is about how we work with the GPs to develop better services for the local population.’
But he added: ‘We know primary care services are also in a difficult place at the moment, with workload and recruitment challenges and things like that. So we are looking at how could these sorts of models potentially also provide some more attractive opportunities to recruit GPs to a different type of work locally.’
Somerset LMC chair Dr Harry Yoxall said it was ‘early days’ though and GPs were taking part in ‘initial discussions’ to see if it would be possible to set up an accountable care organisation based on the trust and local practices.
He said: ‘I think everybody is going to go at it with their eyes open. Looking at a 10 to 15 year future, we know that things are going to have to change and that practices are not necessarily going to be able to carry on in the way that they are, so this is just one option for the future. If it doesn’t look right then we will have to look at alternative possibilities.’
Elsewhere, a NHS Salford CCG spokesperson said that there were plans to create a PACS locally.
They added: ‘Salford health & social care commissioners and providers (NHS Salford CCG, Salford City Council, Salford Royal Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation Trust) are considering submitting a joint bid for transformation funding to trial a new model of care relating to Primary and Acute Systems (PACS).’
It is understood that Northampton General Hospital is also making a bid to run a PACS but a spokesperson said it was too early to comment.
Trusts in Cumbria, Devon and Lancashire were unable to respond by time of publication to LMC leaders’ claims that they were looking to set up PACS in their regions.