Drive to put GPs in A&E backed by £56m funding from DH

Hospital trusts across England have been awarded £56m to ease pressure on A&E next winter in a move that will kickstart plans to place a GP in every emergency department by Christmas.

DH headquarters, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)
DH headquarters, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)

The £56m - allocated to 70 hospital trusts to support proposals to improve A&E performance next winter - is just over half of the £100m capital funding to support emergency departments announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in the spring budget.

The government has said that the funding is intended to help hospitals achieve a target of 95% of patients presenting at A&E being admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

Plans submitted by hospitals 'include primary care streaming and co-locating GP practices within A&E departments to ensure patients are treated in the most appropriate setting', according to a DH statement.

NHS crisis

The funding allocation comes just over a month after NHS England chief exective Simon Stevens pledged that every A&E department in the country would have a GP at its front door by Christmas this year.

Over the 2016/17 winter, between December and February 21% of patients at type one emergency departments in England spent longer than four hours in A&E, almost three times the proportion that did so five years earlier.

Scores of hospitals also reported major alerts throughout the winter period, with many unable to maintain full services at times.

GP leaders have warned that plans to put primary care services inside A&E could deepen the NHS crisis, and risk stripping GPs from existing services.

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