Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund

In October 2013, the Prime Minister announced a new £50 million Challenge Fund to help improve access to general practice and stimulate innovative ways of providing primary care services. The first wave of twenty pilots was announced in April 2014.

Further funding of £100m for 2015/16 was announced by the Prime Minister on 30 September 2014 for a second wave.

The Government asked NHS England to lead the process of inviting practices to submit innovative bids and overseeing the pilot schemes.

First wave of pilot schemes

NHS England invited GP practices to submit their ‘expressions of interest’ (EOIs) to be one of the first wave of pilots in December 2013, before selecting the final list of successful schemes in April 2014. Twenty pilot schemes were selected that are benefitting over 7 million patients across more than 1,100 practices.

A wide variety of innovative ideas are being tested including extended opening hours, more ways for patients to access services and new services to better support patients with complex needs.

For more information, see the latest on the wave one pilot schemes.

Second wave of pilot schemes

NHS England launched the second wave of applications to become a pilot following the September 2014 announcement on 29 October 2014. Applications to become a wave two pilot closed on 16 January 2015 with 156 applications received.

Following the selection process, it was announced on 27 March 2015 that 37 pilot schemes covering 1,417 practices, serving over 10.6m patients had been chosen to lead the way in testing innovative ways of increasing access and delivering wider transformational change in general practice. The fund will also support GPs to play an even stronger role at the heart of more integrated out-of-hospital services that delivers better health outcomes, more personalised care, and excellent patient experience.

Download the full list of successful wave two pilot sites.

Bringing together, the two cohorts gives 57 pilots covering over 18m population (a third of the country) in over 2,500 practices that will benefit from improved access and transformational change at local level.

See a selection of supportive quotes from clinicians from wave one and wave two sites.

For more information, please contact the team at