Next steps for improving general practice services outlined by NHS England and NHS Improvement

Planning guidance issued today gives more details on how the extra funding announced in the General Practice Forward View will be used to help transform services.

Published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, Delivering the Forward View: NHS Operational Planning Guidance for 2017/18 and 2018/19 provides NHS trusts and commissioners with the tools they need to plan for the years ahead. On top of planned increases to primary medical care allocations for  general practice, the guidance confirms that there will also be further local recurrent funding to improve and increase capacity in general practice, totalling £138m by 2017/18 and increasing to £258m by 2018/19.  This will contribute to the overall ambition of investing an extra £2.4 billion in general practice services by 2020/21.

In 2016/17, this recurrent funding is being made available to the General Practice Access Fund pilot schemes (formerly known as the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund) and a number of additional areas across the country which will accelerate delivery of improving GP access in 2017/18.  This will also enable London to begin a capital wide programme of improving access from 2016/17.

The investment will be extended in 2018/19 to enable the whole country to start developing additional capacity, so that from April 2019 every CCG can expect a minimum additional £6 per head to improve access to general practice.

Arvind Madan, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care, said: “We know that general practice is under pressure and we are determined to maintain the momentum in turning things around, as started with the launch of the General Practice Forward View. Today’s planning guidance, with detail on how investment will look in the coming years, demonstrates the steps we will be taking with CCGs to both stabilise and transform GP services in the years to come, for the benefit of staff and patients.”

It means CCGs will be able to commission extra services, making the most of new technologies and the wider workforce. This might include commissioning provision of access to pre-bookable and same day appointments to general practice services in evenings (after 6:30pm) and at weekends, meeting local population needs as appropriate. This should help  reduce demand on both general practice in-hours, and urgent care services.

For the first time, the new planning guidance also places a requirement on CCGs to develop local action plans detailing how they will deliver on the aims set out in the General Practice Forward View. This will be a crucial part of delivering the overall vision for the local area, being developed as part of their Sustainability and Transformation Plans. In particular, the plans will need to  set out how CCGs will invest funds to support and transform general practice.  CCG plans will complement work taking place at a national level to deliver the commitments in the GPFV, such as improving resilience and growing the workforce.

CCGs will need to provide plans outlining their approach to implementing the General Practice Forward View by 23 December 2016 as part of the NHS Planning process.


  1. Dr J Morris says:

    We are struggling to provide day time appointments, stretching the service to provide appointments after 6.30 is not helpful at all.
    Most patients in need are elderly and do not like going out at night .
    Some common sense please and not political fogma

  2. termite says:

    The best way to improve general practice is to have GP’s capped on the number / income they can earn from patients on their books, according to the number of hours they are actually available to see patients … and watch the number of available appointments go up!

    Stop forcing smaller family doctors to move into expensive conveyor belt health centres just to get money out of them. GP’s were once seen as family doctors, that knew each member of the family and provide really good quality care.
    New centres are cold, unwelcoming and provide a conveyor belt service, when we get all we need from our old fashioned kind and caring family doctors.
    A pt. at surgery run from an old house, the service was excellent, then they moved into the expensive NHS property, the service declined rapidly, GP’s more concerned about getting money for patients on their books. In the old house, 5 Gps with readily available appts’ in the new centre 11 GP’s and very few appointments and you call that Progress!

  3. Manas Sikdar says:

    Improving” efficiency” often just makes GPs busier. What we really need is an appreciation that general practice is “full”. There needs to be an increased funding for the day-to-day work in general practice. There needs to be a commitment towards increasing numbers of GPs, prescribing senior nurses and pharmacists, developing extended roles for administrators and healthcare assistant. Most importantly patients need to self-care. We cannot simply keep allowing our politicians increase demandwithout getting the message across that individuals need to take more responsibility for their health.