£10m GP new deal fund will target practices with poor CQC ratings

A £10m fund for struggling practices announced last week by health secretary Jeremy Hunt will be used to support surgeries with quality concerns and identified by the CQC as needing improvement, GPonline has learned.

Ratings: practices found to be struggling by CQC could receive share of £10m
Ratings: practices found to be struggling by CQC could receive share of £10m

Mr Hunt announced the new funding in a speech detailing his ‘new deal’ for general practice. He said there must be ‘much better support for practices identified as in difficulty’. 

Mr Hunt said he had asked NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners to develop a £10m support programme ‘for struggling practices’.

The package, he added, ‘will include advice and turnaround support for the practice itself and help for the practice to work with others to change its business model.’

Video: watch Jeremy Hunt's GP new deal speech

GPonline has been told the funding will be used to support practices identified by CQC as having quality concerns and in need of improvement.

The programme, to be developed by NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners, will ‘take learning from’ an existing pilot scheme to support practices in special measures currently being delivered by the RCGP.

Primary care minister Alistair Burt, in response to a parliamentary question, also revealed that the funding will be 'drawn from this year’s Primary Care Infrastructure Fund, a £1bn investment over four years, announced as part of the 2014 autumn statement'.

GPonline reported exclusively in April that practices rated 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement' by the CQC receive around £50,000 a year below national average funding.

GP funding affects quality

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said there was ‘no doubt’ the quality of care practices can provide is in part determined by resource constraints.

RCGP vice chairman Dr Tim Ballard told GPonline in April that practices rated inadequate and placed under the special measures regime by the CQC face additional financial problems due to the costs of trying to improve. Those placed in special measures are given the option of RCGP assistance to improve. Practices that take up the offer must pay £5,000, while NHS England contributes a further £5,000.

GPonline revealed last week that the RCGP’s special measures peer support pilot had been extended by three months by NHS England.

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