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Patients across England are set to benefit from a £350 million investment in GP services, announced today (27th March 2015).
The 2015/16 funding will deliver on the promise of a new deal for primary care, as highlighted in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund – second wave pilots
An additional 37 pilot schemes across England will be able to improve access to care for over 10.5m patients as part of the expansion of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF). This will mean the scheme will benefit a total of 18m patients expanding on over 7million patients that are already benefitting from the 20 wave one pilots.
The successful schemes will trial a wide variety of ideas to improve convenience and access to GP services to fit round work and family life with more appointments in the evenings and at weekends, plus the option for video, email and telephone consultations and better use of telecare and health apps.
In October 2013, the Prime Minister announced the Challenge Fund to improve access to general practice. 20 pilots were announced in March 2013 and all began mobilising in April 2014. In October 2014 it was announced that a further £100 million was being allocated for a second wave of pilot schemes. This has since been expanded to £125m using Primary Care Infrastructure Fund money to achieve further improvements in areas such as IT.
Primary Care Infrastructure Fund – first tranche of investment
Over 1,000 GP practices across the country have had bids approved for funding in principle as part of the first tranche of the £1billion, four-year Primary Care Infrastructure Fund.
The funding will help to improve their premises to benefit both patients and professionals working in primary care – either through making improvements to existing buildings or through the creation of new ones. It will also help practices to harness technology and give practices the space to offer more appointments and improved care for the frail elderly in the community – essential in supporting the reduction of hospital admissions. A £190m investment will be made in 2015/16 with additional funding going towards improving IT, through the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.
£10m of Primary Care Infrastructure Fund money has already been allocated to kick-start a range of initiatives to expand the workforce, developed collaboratively with Health Education, the RCGP and the BMA. A remaining amount of 2015/16 Primary Care Infrastructure Fund investment will be allocated at a later date.