Commissioners agree £4.6m local contract for non-core GP services

Commissioners in east Cheshire have agreed proposals for a 'landmark' £4.6m package to fund non-core GP services, but practices will have to achieve over £3m in savings.

Services covered by the deal include ECG readings

As reported last week by GPonline, if practices sign up, the new Caring Together scheme will pay £22.77 per weighted patient to provide a comprehensive range of non-core services, many of which are already being delivered by practices.

The scheme would help solve longstanding concerns over unfunded GP services - a GPonline investigation this year found that practices across England provide services worth tens of millions of pounds for free.

East Cheshire's primary care co-commissioning committee agreed last week to use £2m new CCG investment for the package on top of £1.1m of existing locally commissioned service funding and £1.2m of reinvested PMS premium funding being withdrawn under NHS England’s equitable funding drive. The committee includes representatives from NHS England and Eastern Cheshire CCG.

GP funding

Practices will, however, be required to achieve £3.01m of savings through proactive care, reducing demand and deflecting activity in other parts of the health service in order to retain the full investment.

The new service specification would bring together a wide range of new and existing non-core services into a single CCG-wide contract with all services available from all GMS, PMS and APMS practices. The contract will take in services currently commissioned by the CCG, NHS England and public health. All 22 practices, if they all agree, will receive the aggregated per weighted patient price.

Services that would be provided by every practice include improved access, enhanced support for long-term conditions and enhanced investigations, including 24-hour BP monitoring and ECG reading.

GP access

Eastern Cheshire CCG chief officer Jerry Hawker said: ‘The investment recognises that the GP surgery is the first point of contact with the NHS for most people and that it represents a golden opportunity to relieve pressure on urgent and emergency care by helping people to better manage their health in the community.

Commissioners are now negotiating with practices to finalise the list of services to be provided by the new contract which is due to go live next month.

A document detailing the new contract said: 'Retention of the full levels of investment is dependent upon practices achieving the planned level of savings and required quality standards and outcomes.'

The paper noted that despite the new investment six PMS practices in phase 1, and two practices in phase 2 of the scheme will see their income drop. The CCG said it will guarantee transition funding for them.

Eastern Cheshire LMC said it would be inappropriate for them to comment while practices are still in negotiations with commissioners.

Photo: Amelie-Benoist/BSIP/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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