Integration vanguards consider pooled budgets

Integrated care vanguards are considering developing pooled funding arrangements, NHS England documents have revealed.

Dr Vautrey: Core GP funding should not be merged with other services. Picture: JH Lancy
Dr Vautrey: Core GP funding should not be merged with other services. Picture: JH Lancy

GP leaders have said merging practice core funding with hospital or social care budgets would be a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed and LMC leaders last week insisted pooling must not happen

Papers published ahead of NHS England’s board meeting later this week revealed that local vanguard sites are considering merging funding schemes.

During visits to the 29 vanguards, which include models of vertical integration of primary and acute services, and GP practice-led out of hospital integration, NHS England said challenges being considered included: ‘contracting and payments models to enable and incentivise change, including need for multi-year capitated contracts that blend existing funding streams into one flexible pot’.

The vanguards, launched in March, will develop the new models of care proposed by the NHS in England’s Five Year Forward View. The projects will receive a funding from a £200m transformation fund announced by the government last year.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline in April that core GP funding should not be merged with other services. ‘This would be a red line. Pooling budgets is usually an excuse to take resource out of general practice’, he said. 

The LMCs conference last week passed a motion insisting that new models of care should not pool core GP funding. 

However some local GP leaders involved with new care models have admitted the vanguards could lead to pooled funding. 

Board papers also revealed that some early implementing new care model vanguards are expected to begin contributing efficiencies during the current financial year. In aggregate the vanguards will not be required to show additional efficiencies before the middle of 2017/18 and 2018/19. 

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