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NHS England ‘in discussion’ with GPC over emergency funding to stop practice closures

Exclusive NHS England is in discussion with the GPC over emergency funding to stop GP practice closures, GP leaders have revealed.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he went over proposals for a number of short term solutions to address a crisis in general practice with health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the details of which are now being discussed with NHS England.

The list of GPC demands follow negotiations over the new GP contract 2015/16, announced earlier today, and includes a call for ‘immediate support to be given to GP practices ‘at risk of closure as a result of inadequate funding’.

The document, which was shared with GPs today, said: ‘This funding would play a significant role in arresting the domino effect of practice closures and the resulting damage to patient care and confidence in GP services.’

The list of demands from the GPC further includes the setting up of a fund, managed either by CCGs or area teams, from which practices could apply for funding to hire emergency staff including nurses and pharmacies to help reduce patient waiting times for appointments.

The GPC also wants the Government to provide an emergency fund for investment in practice infrastructure and introduce incentives to GPs who return to work or who remain in UK practice rather than going abroad on qualification.

‘This could include, for example, funding to support GPs returning to the profession and flexible career schemes,’ the document said.

The news comes after Mr Hunt said he supported the aims of Stop Practice Closures campaign, saying that he wants to ‘find a fair way of funding general practice’.

Dr Nagpaul told Pulse: ‘We are in active discussion with NHS England after my meeting with Jeremy Hunt on these measures. We have told the Government that general practice will not be sustainable unless these urgent short term measures are implemented pending medium and longer term strategies.’

Pulse launched its Stop Practice Closures campaign after learning that more than 100 practices across the UK had either closed or were actively considering closing as a result of funding cuts and a recruitment crisis.

Click here to read the full list of GPC demands

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