BMA hits out over 'scandalous' failure to deliver £11m for struggling practices

GP leaders have called for urgent action from NHS England over failures by CCGs to deploy practice resilience funding promised in the GP Forward View.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul (Photo: JH Lancy)
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul (Photo: JH Lancy)

More than half of LMCs surveyed by the GPC have said practices promised funding had yet to receive it, despite NHS England’s deadline for money to spent by the end of March.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has written to NHS England calling for plans to be outlined on the allocation of unspent funds and for it to be protected and rolled forward into the next financial year.

The first £16m tranche of the three-year resilience fund, announced in the GP Forward View in April 2016, was supposed to have been allocated to practices by local commissioners by last autumn and spent by the end of March. But the GPC has said that more than £11m has yet to be deployed.

NHS England has already apologised for deploying too slowly the predecessor vulnerable practice fund but promised that over 1,000 practices would be supported by the new scheme by the end of this financial year.

Vulnerable GP practices

However, of 40 LMCs surveyed by the GPC, 23 said funding allocated to practices had either not yet been spent, or was only partly spent.

Dr Nagpaul said it was ‘completely unacceptable’ that a ‘postcode lottery’ had developed in the delivery of the key support promised in the GP Forward View. ‘This is scandalous given that CCGs were allocated these funds in the autumn,’ Dr Nagpaul said. ‘In many cases these deadlines are being completely missed.’

He added: 'The BMA has written to NHS England asking them to urgently address this serious operational failure. This funding must be retained and ringfenced for its intended purpose and not lost from CCG budgets due to their failure to spend it in this financial year. It is vital that every eligible practice should have access to this vital support, to prevent any adverse effects on patient services, or even in some cases practices closing.’

In January RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard criticised 'extremely disappointing' progress in deploying the funding. A progress report by the college, which was badged as a partner in the GP Forward View, found that by the end of 2016 just 219 practices of over 1,000 identified as eligible had received any support from the fund.

An NHS England spokesman said: 'The latest local team reports show investment of £9.2m supporting over 600 struggling practices through the Vulnerable Practice Programme and investment of £11.9m supporting over a further 500 practices through the Practice Resilience Programme. All funding is committed to be spent by the end of this financial year as we deliver on our commitments set out in the GP Forward View.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

Public satisfaction with GP services remains high, with 82% of patients reporting...

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GP leaders have condemned a 'deafening silence' on COVID-19 relief funding for general...

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

A national newspaper asked readers how well the government had handled coronavirus....

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

Welcome to the first of our General Practice Insights reports on key issues for the...

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

GPs have demanded more resources to support social prescribers after a poll found...

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

A GPonline survey of more than 500 GPs has predicted that over half of patient appointments...