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‘Primary care hubs’ among plans to receive share of £325m funding

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has today announced £325m of funding for local NHS ‘transformation plans’, including millions for new ‘primary care hubs’.

The funding will be handed to 15 of the ‘the strongest and most advanced’ Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) across England, to support a total of 25 local projects.

The largest sums of money will be given to Greater Manchester, Dorset and Cumbria, while five projects including GP services have been chosen for funding.

The projects include:

  • Bedfordshire: £5m to develop a primary care hub at Bedfordshire Hospital.
  • Derbyshire: £10-30m to build an area within Royal Derby Hospital housing GP services, out of hours and mental health assessment services.
  • Suffolk and North East Essex, North Clacton: Up to £5m for a new primary care hub, which will house three GP practices, community services and new renal dialysis unit.
  • West Suffolk: Up to £5m to fund the relocation of Oakfield GP surgery into Newmarket Community Hospital.
  • West, North and East Cumbria: £5m to develop eight community hubs offering GPs, social care, community services, mental health services and specialist hospital consultants.

Mr Hunt said the money, earmarked for STPs as part of the Spring Budget, ‘will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients’. 

He said in a written statement to Parliament that the schemes that received funding were ‘judged’ by NHS England to be ‘sufficiently advanced’ to progress.

Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, said the plans would improve access to general practice.

He said: ‘For patients it’ll mean easier GP appointments, modern A&Es, and better cancer and mental health care.

‘For staff, we’re putting our money where our mouth is in backing these practical plans developed by doctors, nurses and local NHS leaders.’

But Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said that while the funding is ‘really important’, the schemes ‘won’t see the necessary recurrent funding’ to stay sustainable.

He said: ‘There’s no guarantee that funding will continue in the same way going forward and then other areas that are doing similar projects don’t get that equivalent level of funding because they’re not part of the favoured group that are being prioritised.

‘For general practice as a whole to develop, we need sustainable recurrent funding, not simple, headline-grabbing pots of money which don’t last very long.’

The full list of schemes to receive funding are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Dorset
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
  • Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton
  • Derbyshire
  • West, North and East Cumbria
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Suffolk and North East Essex
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Mid and South Essex
  • Norfolk and Waveney
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West
  • North East London

A full list of plans is available here.