Struggling practices across England will receive a share of £16m in funding in 2016/17 - the first tranche of a £40m practice resilience programme to be released over four years. NHS regions across England will receive between around £600,000 and more than £1m each to support practices in the current financial year.
The first wave of a £30m, three-year general practice development programme, which will 'give every practice in the country the opportunity to receive training and development support' will also be rolled out under the package announced on Thursday by NHS England.
NHS chiefs will also release funding 'to fully offset the rising cost of GP indemnity' as part of wider plans to reform primary care indemnity.
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Details of a voluntary multispecialty community provider (MCP) contract have also been announced. The deal will provide a framework for practices to come together to work at scale, with funding delivered across whole regional populations and a new pay for performance scheme that will replace the QOF.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive said: 'We meant it when we said we would take concrete action to help relieve pressure on GP practices, and today's funding is just the first instalment. Practices need support, now, and a few weeks on from the GP Forward View we're getting on with practical action to do so.'
Dr Arvind Madan, a GP and NHS England director of primary care,said: 'Three months on from the launch of the GP Forward View, we’re now getting on with implementing these plans. We understand the pressure on GP practices and today’s announcement shows how we’re getting on with immediate practical steps to deliver GPs much-needed support.'
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'We want the best working conditions for GPs so that they can provide the best service for patients. We have listened to concerns and know that for GPs, paying rising indemnity fees out of their own pockets feels unfair and unsustainable – so are today committing millions to help.'
Responding to the announcements, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: 'We are starting to get firm commitments of real money to help those practices most in need, and investment to address universal issues affecting GPs, such as soaring indemnity costs.
'Our immediate priority must be to make sure that the money from the resilience programme is spent in the right way and delivers practical help to practices - and their patients - fast.
'It’s clear there is a long way to go in order to get GPs and their teams the support and resources needed to deliver 90% of all NHS patient contacts in a safe and sustainable way. But the developments announced today promise to make a tangible impact on general practice, and the care we can provide to our patients.'