Practices with poor ratings to be prioritised for £10m support fund

The practices selected for the ‘turnaround’ fund will have to be identified by NHS England by 28 January 2016.

However, following an update sent to Clinical Commissioners Groups (CCGs), Rosamund Roughton, NHS England director of commissioning, maintained that practices performing poorly would be prioritised for funding. Roughton also stated that there would be flexibility for ‘local intelligence’ from CCGs to be used as well.

Furthermore, any practice receiving funds will be required to match the funding 50:50 and the money must be spent in accordance with ‘CCG plans for primary care locally’.

The update also revealed that the £10 million would be allocated to each area on a population basis, with practices in the North receiving £2.6 million; £2.8 million due to go to the Midlands and East; £1.5 million to London and £2.4 million across the South.

The General Practitioners Committee (GPC) welcomed the funding, but counselled it would require practices to ‘fall in line’ with CCG plans and inevitably result in working with other GP practices at scale.

In the letter to CCGs, Roughton states the fund ‘will provide support to practices under pressure ensuring patients have continued access to high quality care’.

She added: “GP practices will be expected to contribute matched funding on a 50:50 basis as a measure of their commitment to improvement.”

The letter added that ‘funding must not be used to support practices that fail to engage with local CCG plans for primary care’.

Dr Robert Morley, chair of the GPC’s contracts and regulation subcommittee, said: "It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but the £10m is nowhere near enough when what is required to save general practice is recurrent billions, not millions.

“I would very much like to see far more emphasis in this document on supporting practices with workforce issues, and a recognition that unless they can recruit new partners practice closure is inevitable.”

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