NHS scores 'eight out of 10' on GP Forward View implementation, says top official

The health service is making significant strides towards reinvigorating general practice, with 2016/17 investment in the service set to outstrip the previous year by more than £500m, a senior NHS England official has said.

NHS England director of commissioning Ros Roughton
NHS England director of commissioning Ros Roughton

NHS England director of commissioning Ros Roughton told NHS England's board meeting on Thursday that she would rate implementation of the GP Forward View, which aims to increase GP funding by £2.4bn a year by 2020/21, as an 'eight out of 10'.

She said the NHS was on track to increase investment in general practice by £500m in 2016/17 compared with the previous financial year.

Her comments came as the NHS prepares to set out a delivery plan on Friday that will set out how the health service plans to deliver improvements to the service in line with plans set out in the Five Year Forward View, and the GP Forward View - published one year ago.

Return to work processes for GPs had been 'transformed' through work with the RCGP and Health Education England, Ms Roughton said, and 'real bottom-up momentum' was driving general practice into more at-scale working arrangements.

General practice at scale

A progress report presented by the commissioning director to the board reiterated that the GP Forward View would see GP funding rise 14% by 2020/21, compared with an '8% real-terms increase for the rest of the NHS'.

The GP Forward View would 'lay the foundations' for future general practice to help it become the 'hub of population-based healthcare' through new models of care and the 'primary care home' model - highlighted by health minister David Mowat recently in comments suggesting that GPs would in future migrate to 1,500 superhubs serving populations of 40,000 patients.

Sustainability and transformation plan (STP) areas 'with the greatest focus' had already begun developing these models, the report said.

Ms Roughton told the board: 'There is real bottom-up momentum out there, particularly around practices coming together to work at scale, around using the wider workforce, working out how gen practice can enable self care and using the latest technology.

'With the GP development programme we have 86 schemes now registered - practices that have come to us to say they want to do stuff.' These schemes cover 'about 107 CCG areas in the country', she explained.

GP funding

The report also highlighted rising core funding for general practice from 2016-2018. Core primary care allocations would rise £301m over the two financial years in this period, the report says.

GP funding will become fairer through reviews of the Carr-Hill funding formula that underpins the GP contract, while other funding streams such as the resilience programme and funding to support wider access to general practice would continue, the report adds.

Infrastructure investment will also 'accelerate' in 2017, the report claims.

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