What is the GP Access Fund?

The first 20 wave one Access Fund pilots - known at the time as the prime minister's Challenge Fund - were launched in 2014 with £50m of funding.

A second wave of 37 pilots was announced in 2015 with £100m. The government also pledged to spend an additional £400m to ensure every patient in England has evening and weekend access by 2020.

A further £25.5m - part of the 2015/16 tranche of the infrastructure/transformation fund that pledged £1bn in total over four years - was designated for Access Fund pilots' IT interoperability. Some of the pilots have also benefited from additional local funding.

A total of 7.5m patients were expected to have access to extended GP opening hours under the initial £50m Challenge Fund pilots.

Seven-day GP access

By 2020, NHS England's mandate now pledges to make weekend and evening GP services available across the country.

In the government spending review in November a Treasury document said that the roll-out of evening and weekend access would be ‘supported’ by the remaining £750m primary care transformation fund, initially announced in 2014 as a GP infrastructure fund and as part of the wider additional £2bn recurrent funding for the NHS.

Last month NHS England announced that general practice's funding would rise by at least 4% a year until 2020/21.

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