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Named GP scheme to be based on existing funding

The Government has said that the health secretary’s ‘named clinician’ plans are based on current NHS funding but would not rule out the possibility of increasing investment for primary care.

A DH spokesperson told Pulse that the plan aims to ‘ensure that existing funding can be used most effectively’, but said that the ‘engagement’ will consider whether there is a need for more investment in primary care.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced his plans at an event marking the 65th birthday of the NHS at London’s St Thomas’s Hospital on Friday. He said that the move was intended to drive forward better-integrated, coordinated out-of-hospital care, ensuring ‘patients and relatives have a single point of information and responsibility for their care’.

However, the DH would not elaborate on the plans, stating that it is currently consulting on the proposals and how they could be formulated and implemented in practice.

When asked whether these plans will attract new investment, the spokesperson said: ‘The plan aims to ensure that existing funding can be used most effectively, through the right care being delivered and providing value for money for the tax payer across health and social care.

‘However, the engagement will consider the potential financial implications of the proposals including the need for more investment in general practice.’

Doctors’ leaders have said there is a lack of detail in the proposals, with GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman saying ‘every patient already has a named GP’.

The Government would not be drawn on the details of the plans, but the spokesperson said that the proposals will ‘mean that patients and carers will have a single point of contact, information and responsibility’.

Dr Charles Alessi, chair of the National Association of Primary Care, said the plans could mark the ‘rebirth’ of PMS.

He added: ‘This is locally determined services which fits the population. There are these mechanisms that exist at the moment that will actually allow these changes to happen using the flexibility we have with PMS.’