Exclusive: Deal to pay practices for taking on hospital outpatient appointments

GP leaders have demanded nat­ional advice on funding work moved out of secondary care, as Birmingham GPs closed in on a deal to pay practices for taking on hundreds of hospital out­patient appointments.

Dr Ralston: pay follows work (Photograph: W Fry)
Dr Ralston: pay follows work (Photograph: W Fry)

South Birmingham PCT has told GPs that up to 700 prosthetic heart valve patients will be given the option to have their annual review and follow-up in primary care. GPs feared the work would be transferred with no funding.

But after meeting affected GPs and Birmingham LMC last week, Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which covers 92 practices, is working on how to fund the work as a local enhanced service or on a per capita basis.

CCG chairman Dr Gavin Ralston said: ‘It will be resolved. We have to do what our members desire. It is going to mean extra work so we are aware that resources should follow. We have met the LMC and listened to its very reasonable concerns.

‘We are very aware that the proportion of funding for pri­mary care has decreased over the past few years, so while trying to reduce overall expenditure it will be essential that, where appropriate, resources follow.’

An email last month said cardiologists backed the change because ‘prosthetic valves almost never fail and are unlikely to do so just at the time of the patient’s annual check-up’.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said it was vital to develop a mechanism for funding work transferred out of hospitals. ‘Everybody knows the NHS needs to reconfigure services but the move of work from secondary to primary care needs to be funded.’

Birmingham LMC secretary Dr Robert Morley said: ‘I hope Dr Ralston will be successful. The bigger question is how successful the new system will be with CCGs and the Bill and for that I am not too hopeful.’

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