NHS Improvement’s top efficiency team has been asked by commissioners in London to tackle clinical variation in general practice, HSJ has learned.

The Getting It Right First Time programme has been invited by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group to work with its local GP federation on “reducing variation”, local sources said.

GIRFT, which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care but run by NHS Improvement, is designed to reduce unwarranted variation within clinical services.

The £60m clinical efficiency and safety programme has so far focused on acute services but announced last year it would expand into mental health.

HSJ understands the GIRFT team has now been invited by the CCG to work with its practices. However, partners are yet to decide whether a formal pilot will take place or what GP services GIRFT will look at.

If the work is formalised it will be the first time GIRFT has ventured into primary care services.

According to a source with knowledge of the work, the GIRFT team has already held two workshops with the Hammersmith and Fulham GP federation.

They said GIRFT will be “looking into reducing variation” but added “it is a new programme looking at variation elements, they haven’t really determined the specifics of what it will look into”.

NHS England runs an equivalent programme to GIRFT called NHS Right Care, which focuses on reducing variation and improving efficiency in commissioning.