COMMISSIONING: GPs in Barnsley have universally signed up to a contract with their local clinical commissioning group requiring them to increase access to services and train their staff.

Barnsley CCG’s “practice delivery agreement” has been signed by all of the town’s 36 GP practices, covering a population of 240,000.

Although the CCG has full delegated powers to commission primary care, the deal was in place before those powers were awarded and is in addition to GPs’ main service contracts.

GP and patient

The contract includes a for requirement GPs to improve access for patients with long term conditions

Under the deal, GPs will provide clinics for patients needing anticoagulation therapies and treatment for benign prostate tumours, for example, and to visit elderly or housebound patients in their own homes.

Practices are also obliged to implement a local “quality framework”, which includes a requirement to provide proactive and personalised management of patients with long term conditions.

The contract is funded by an additional £5.3m. Most of the funding – £4m – comes from general CCG funding, including £2m of non-recurrent monies, alongside £1.3m from the government’s £50m GP access fund.

The money will be distributed to practices based on their list size, and adjusted to take health inequalities into account.

It will also pay for staff training, as the CCG wants GPs to work in an “environment of continuous learning”.

CCG chair Nick Balac told HSJ that the agreement was “co-produced” with local practices, to ensure GPs had ownership of the project rather than having it forced upon them.

He said: “Practices have historically worked as small business units. This is moving them towards working as a bigger unit. The agreement gives them confidence and assurance that they can do that and improve outcomes but not come under pressure to do things they’re not resourced to do.”

While the contract is designed not to be bureaucratic, it includes a set of sanctions that can be used against practices which do not keep their side of the deal.