The £50 million Prime Minister’s Challenge 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.
In June 2014 following a competitive procurement process Mott MacDonald, working with SQW, was appointed by NHS England as the national evaluation partner for wave one. The evaluation examines the models which are being put in place to deliver change; the extent to which impacts, outputs and outcomes are being achieve; the delivery barriers pilots are facing and how these challenges are being addressed; key factors which are enabling success and an assessment of value for money.
Nine national metrics were developed in partnership with the pilots, distilled from over 280 indicators. The metrics were agreed by identifying the ‘best fit’ in terms of assessing activities being undertaken and also meeting the needs of NHS England in terms of understanding the impacts and outcomes of the investment. The nine national metrics have been organised under four categories:
Patient contact, as a direct result of the change in access:
- The change in hours offered for patient contact
- The change in modes of contact
- The utilisation of additional hours offered
- Satisfaction with access arrangements
- Satisfaction with modes of contact available
- Satisfaction with new arrangements
Wider system change:
- Impact on the wider system attendances
- Impact on emergency admissions
- Impact on the ‘out of hours’ service
The independent evaluation on the first wave Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund pilots has now been completed.
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.