Make general practice sustainable and accessible, local commissioners told

Every local health system in England will be required to plan for improving GP infrastructure, sustainability and access as part of new local NHS blueprints.

Simon Stevens: Wants plans to tackle GP workload and workforce problems
Simon Stevens: Wants plans to tackle GP workload and workforce problems

Planning guidance by the six national NHS bodies for commissioners and trusts requires all local health systems to draw up sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).

As part of the process, commissioners must 'develop and implement a local plan to address the sustainability and quality of general practice, including workforce and workload issues'.

STPs will set out how each area intends to meet the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View funded by the additional £8.4bn real-terms increase in funding by 2020/21 announced in the government's spending review last month.

Five-year STPs will show how NHS systems plan to provide better health, transformed quality of care delivery and sustainable finances and how the NHS will deliver its mandate from government.

Commissioners will have to show how they will reduce health and wellbeing inequalities and drive transformation to close gaps in care and quality.

Primary care funding

Plans will have to show how primary care can be made sustainable, and infrastructure improved supported in part by access to the £250m a year national primary care transformation fund.

Commissioners will also have to say how rapidly they can implement enhanced access GP services at evenings and weekends.

STPs will also show how areas will adopt new care models including GP practice led multispecialty community providers (PACs) and Primary and Acute Systems (PACS).

The new plans, which will be submitted for 2016/17 by 8 February, and for the next five years by the end of June, will become the single application and approval process for being accepted onto programmes with transformational funding from 2017/18.

GP access

A new protected stream of NHS England’s commissioning allocation, the sustainability and transformation fund, includes funding for new care models roll out as well as the £1bn primary care transformation fund (formely the infrastructure fund) and funds for the GP access Challege Fund pilots.

Additionally, NHS England also announced in its spending allocation last week a 25% increase in funding for general practice over five years.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘This guidance sets out the next steps to make the vision set out in the Five Year Forward View a reality. A new approach to how local NHS leaders plan to meet health needs across whole areas will sit alongside the new sustainability and transformation fund established as part of our £560bn funding plan for the NHS. Together they will help to ensure the NHS has solid financial foundations from next year, and to transform how care is delivered up to 2021.’

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