LMC hits out as GP elderly care funds handed to hospital

Funding meant to help GPs improve care for patients aged over 75 has been used by one CCG to pay for extra hospital admissions for older patients instead, according to the vice-chairman of the local LMC.

Dr Grant Ingrams: CCG plans show short-term approach (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Grant Ingrams: CCG plans show short-term approach (Photo: JH Lancy)

Coventry GP and GPC member Dr Grant Ingrams said he and other doctors had called a meeting with Coventry and Rugby CCG to discuss its use of ‘Everyone Counts’ funding, announced in conjunction with the introduction of named GPs for all over-75 patients.

The CCG commissions services for a population of approximately 460,000, which means it would receive around £2.3m in funding through the scheme.

NHS England guidance instructed CCGs to ‘support practices in transforming the care of patients aged 75 or older and reducing avoidable admissions by providing funding for practice plans to do so’. The funding was expected to total around £5 per head of population for each practice.

Dr Ingrams said that in the meeting with Coventry and Rugby CCG, GPs were told that the funding had simply been used to pay for higher-than-expected hospital admissions among older patients.

Short-term approach

‘The CCG told us that they have to balance the books, but that is a very short-term way of looking at this,’ he said.

‘Without investing in services we are not going to be able to change anything. Isn’t it a version of insanity, doing the same thing and expecting things to change?'

Dr Ingrams said he accepted that the Everyone Counts funding was not technically ring-fenced for general practice, but he said the expectation was that this was where the money would be spent.

Following the meeting, Dr Ingrams said: ‘I think the CCG are aware of the mood among GPs on this.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘This is a wholly inappropriate use of the money and is not in line with the operating guidance. It is also a short-sighted approach as the whole basis for this proposal was to make the necessary investment in community services and general practice in order to provide some extra capacity to try to provide a better service in the community.

‘Most CCGs have identified and used this money to support the work around avoiding unplanned admissions, not in paying for the cost of the actual admissions themselves.’

Coventry and Rugby CCG was not available for comment.

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