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Seven-day GP access pilot delayed as commissioners ‘underestimated’ time needed for CQC registration

One of the Prime Minister’s pilots for seven-day GP access had to be delayed until later this year after commissioners failed to acknowledge the amount of time needed to register with the CQC and make other clinical governance arrangements.

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG received £2.6m from the ‘Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund’ to provide seven-day GP access, but had to delay its rollout from July to later this year.

The CCG chair said this was due to problems with clinical governance arrangements, including the length of time needed for CQC registration.

The pilot is part of the £100m second wave of the Challenge Fund, and is being funded for one year.

But Dr Gary Howsam, co-chair of the Peterborough primary care transformation board, told the Peterborough Telegraph that it had to be delayed.

He said: ‘We were hoping to have been able to fully launch the service this summer, but we underestimated the time needed for CQC registrations and other clinical governance requirements.

‘However, having now put most of the arrangements in place and identified which practices will work together within hubs, we are now looking at how each “hub” will best inform their patients of the increased early morning and late evening appointments over the next few months.

He later told Pulse: ‘Over the next few months we will continue to phase in evening and early morning access and this will reach most patients in the greater Peterborough area by the end of October.’

A spokesperson for the CQC said that the delay in extending opening hours in Peterborough was not because the CQC’s procedures had taken longer than they should have done.

About 253,000 patients in the Peterborough, North West Cambridgeshire and East Northamptonshire constituencies will be covered by the new opening hours, the Telegraph reported.

The Government’s plan for seven-day GP services has had early problems.

In June, leaders of CCGs stopped a wave 1 seven-day pilot after just one in 10 appointments were filled despite ‘considerable promotion’ of the scheme.