• Vanguard areas could receive £1.50 per head to extend GP access, CCG board papers say
  • NHS England to identify CCGs with “best performing” vanguards to receive funding

Clinical commissioning groups with the “best performing” new care models for primary care will receive extra funding to extend GP opening hours, HSJ has learned.

Vanguard areas implementing multispecialty community providers and primary and acute care systems will be awarded £1.50 per head of population to extend GP opening hours, according to Mansfield and Ashfield CCG board papers.

The CCG is part of the mid-Nottinghamshire PACS and said it has been allocated £400,000 of extra funding. The PACS covers a population of 310,000.

The papers published on 22 December said: “Vanguards have been asked to lead on extended GP access and have been awarded £1.50 per population, not covered by existing [GP access] schemes.”

NHS England has not announced details of the scheme, but a spokesman told HSJ funding will be allocated to CCGs with the “best performing” MCPs and PACS through the GP access fund, formerly known as as the prime minister’s challenge fund.

According to a newsletter last month from the Somerset local medical committee, Somerset CCG, which is a partner in the Yeovil based PACS, has also been awarded £1.50 per head for implement extended access hours by April. The vanguard covers a population of 200,000.

It said: “Somerset CCG… has been selected as one of the sites that must have a pilot scheme up and running by April 2017… The CCG has been allocated £1.50 per patient for setup costs (about £840,000) and £6 per patient per year running costs.”

The NHS England spokesman said: “The money will be allocated to CCGs in geographies around the country that have been identified as the best performing ‘whole population’ (MCPs and PACS) vanguards that will accelerate implementation of key aspects of the Five Year Forward View in 2016-17. We will be confirming the amount shortly.”

NHS England would not confirm the criteria used to identify the “best performing” areas.

In the 2017-19 planning guidance, published in July, NHS England said CCGs with GP access fund schemes and “a number of additional geographies” would receive £6 per head to implement extended access GP appointments in 2017-18.

According to Mansfield and Ashfield CCG and Somerset LMC, the funding of £1.50 per head is in addition to the £6 funding promised in the planning guidance.

To increase GP access, NHS England has imposed a number of requirements on CCGs, including:

  • increasing access to pre-bookable and same day appointments to general practice services;
  • weekend provision of access to pre-bookable and same day appointments on both Saturdays and Sundays to meet local needs; and
  • commission an additional 30 minutes consultation capacity per 1,000 population increase.

The planning guidance said extended access appointments may be provided through “hubs with practices working at scale”.

In 2013, NHS England launched the £50m prime minister’s challenge fund and awarded funding to 20 sites for 2014-15.

A further £100m of funding for a second wave of sites was announced in 2015-16.