Extra £550 million funding for NHS will improve access to GPs, modernise GP surgeries and improve out-of-hospital care.
For patients, this will mean:
- 18 million people will, by March next year, be offered more evening and weekend, video, email and telephone consultations, the equivalent of 8,000 more appointments a day
- over 8.5 million people will see redevelopment of their existing practices, to increase clinical space and offer additional services
- greater access to pharmacists, nurses and speech therapists from local GP surgeries
- more personalised advice from pharmacists who will be able to access medical records
- more tests, treatments and services offered closer to people’s homes, including minor operations and blood tests
The funding will come from:
- £100 million addition to the existing £50 million Prime Minister’s Challenge fund
- £250 million infrastructure fund for new buildings, treatment rooms and IT
- £200 million transformation fund for 29 pilots to integrate services offered by hospitals, GPs, and care homes
Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund
The £100 million addition to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund will support 1,417 practices across the country. It means that 10 million more people will be offered increased access to their GP services.
This follows the success of an initial £50 million fund, covering more than 1,100 practices, which improved access for 7.5 million people. Early evidence shows the first phase is reducing A&E attendances by up to 15%.
The £250 million infrastructure fund, originally announced in the Autumn Statement, will enable more than 1,000 practices to build new integrated health centres, make better use of technology and create more space to offer more appointments.
The fund will support some practices to offer a wider range of additional services including onsite pharmacists, speech therapists, minor surgery, and diagnostic tests.
The infrastructure fund will also pay for a £10 million GP workforce plan which helps set a clear direction for the future of general practice. The plan will make it easier for GPs to return to the profession following a career break, encourage more medical students to take up careers as GPs and offer GPs considering early retirement the option to work reduced hours with reduced workloads.
The £200 million transformation fund was announced in the Autumn Statement to start the innovation needed to ensure a sustainable NHS in future. Earlier this month NHS England announced the first 29 areas of the country receiving a share of the money to redesign care in their areas.