First independent evaluation of the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund published

An independent evaluation on the first wave Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund (formerly Challenge Fund) pilots has now been published.

The £50 million Fund was announced in October 2013 to help improve access to general practice and increase innovation in primary care. The twenty wave one pilots commenced in April 2014 and further funding of £100m for a second wave of schemes was announced in September last year. Thirty seven schemes have been selected for 2015/16 involving over 1400 practices and 10.6m patients.

The first report on the national evaluation of the programme looks at how the first twenty pilots have delivered on their key objectives to provide more GP appointments, expand the types of patient appointments and improve patient and staff satisfaction in GP access.

The wave one pilots will use the results of the evaluation to work with their local CCGs and assess how the most successful aspects of their local pilot can be incorporated into future services.  A second evaluation report will be published in the coming months which will present data over a longer period from the wave one pilots.


  1. Michael Vidal says:

    I note that there will be a further evaluation of the first wave of pilots covering a longer period. However, in view of the poicy position taken by NHS England and the Government that there will be seven day GP services by 2020 may I suggest that it might be more useful to find out why there is an under utilisation of extended hours on Sunday. There could be at least two reasons. Firstly, it may be due to the existence of a Sunday service is not being properly advertised and therefore people do ot know about the service. Secondly, it might be because people do not find going to the GP on a Sunday convenient for any number of reasons.

    Of course it might be a combination of both of these reasons but the point is we do not know. To avoid misusing scarce resources I feel we should find out if possible the reason for under utilisation of GP Services.

  2. dee narga says:

    Please could you advise where one finds the information on the wider system change ( Impact on emergency admissions/attenders) as a result of the access to GP wave 1

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Dee,
      This information can be found on page ii, ‘Key achievements to date’ table.
      Kind regards,
      NHS England

  3. Michael Vidal says:

    I note from section 8 of the evaluation report that the independent evaluation has come to the same conclusion that I did. There is very little use made of services on a Sunday. The only areas where GP services are likely to have greater demand are those where the majority of local residents observe the sabath on Saturday. This independent evaluation does not support a blanket policy of seven day GP services.

    I note that there is to be a second evaluation covering a longer period. If this comes to the same conclusion will the DH have a rethink of its policy on seven day services?