As revealed by GP last month, the pilots in London, Manchester, Salford and Nottingham which allow patients from outside the boundary area to register at any participating practice in the city, were due to go ahead from 1 April as agreed as apart of the 2012/13 GMS contract.
But today the DH confirmed the pilots will begin from the end of the month on a voluntary basis and the PCTs involved are Westminster, City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Manchester, Salford and Nottingham City.
A £2m budget has been given to GPs for the year-long pilot which was first announced in November 2011 and which is due to be reviewed by the DH at an unconfirmed date.
How the pilots will work
- A patient can be registered with the participating practice meaning the practice will receive the same global sum funding, QOF, DES and local enhanced services payments, as it would for any other registered patient.
- But if the patient does not wish to register, they can be seen five times a year, for which the practice will receive £12.93 per consultation.
- GP health centres and NHS walk-in centres will not be eligible for day patient consultation fee if they are already paid for patient consultations on a walk-in basis.
- GP practices undertaking day patient consultations should be eligible for any associated enhanced service payments from their PCT where the enhanced service does not relate to patients on the practice’s registered list.
- To be eligible for payment of day patient fee, the participating practice must have conducted a face-to-face consultation on the practice premises as telephone consultations do not attract a fee as the patient would be expected to request a telephone consultation with their registered practice.
- For payment to be received, the practice should despatch details of the consultation back to the patient’s registered practice within 24 hours.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘I know from speaking to patients that they are frustrated that they are only allowed to go to the GP nearest their home rather than the one that best suits their needs.
‘So I am delighted that from the end of this month, patients in London, Manchester and Salford and Nottingham will be able to start seeing their GP at a time and place that suits them.
‘This is part of a range of measures we introducing to shift the NHS to put patients' interests and desires at the heart of services.’
Chairwoman of Central London CCG Ruth O’Hare, said: ‘We have a lot of people coming into London to work who need to take time off if they need to see a GP. A much simpler solution would be to allow them to register with a GP practice who has signed up to deliver this service, close to their work, where they could pop out for an hour and then go back to work.’
- Editor's blog: GP practices need guidance on choice pilots