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The next phase of NHS England’s £1billion Primary Care Transformation Fund promises to deliver GP premises fit for the future so patients can access more services out of hospital and in their local communities.
Proposed schemes can now span more than one year. This means bigger, more ambitious projects will be possible that will help address rising demand on GP services that account for 90% of all patient contact with the NHS.
The first year of the four year investment made £250m available to help GP practices to make much needed improvements in premises and technology. The fund will now also be able to support more ambitious longer term plans to improve out-of-hospital health services, helping ensure general practice remains at the heart of NHS care as services adapt to meet future challenges.
From 2016/17, local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups – which plan and fund the majority of local health services – will lead proposals for how funding will be invested, working with GPs locally. This will ensure investment supports long-term plans for delivering the best, joined-up services for patients in their local communities, while reducing reliance on hospitals.
CCGs will work with GP practices to identify opportunities for developing existing premises, relocating services to new or existing buildings to provide a wider range of services and better use of existing premises.
Alongside programmes including the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund and GP Workforce 10 Point Plan, this will help deliver on the promise of increased investment and the new deal for primary care, set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
Rosamond Roughton, Director of NHS Commissioning at NHS England, said: “With a further £750m to invest in strengthening primary care premises and infrastructure, we now have a major opportunity to help hard-pressed GPs sustain and expand local services.”