NHS England will run a competitive tender for GPs and wider primary care organisations, in an attempt to ensure that the vulnerable practices receive improved support.
The full details of the scheme will be revealed in June, after significant delays due to logistical reasons.
Jeremy Hunt has already announced that £46 million will be invested in this GP reform initiative, which was announced for the first time in the health secretary’s so-called ‘new deal’.
Hunt had already indicated that the programme will include coaching and mentoring support for practices identified as ‘vulnerable’ and help in diagnosing their problems.
And after significant delays, it seems that the initiative is now almost ready to go live.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, at the LMC conference in London, stated that an announcement on the subject will be made in the following months.
According to information made available on the subject, providers will be expected to help vulnerable practices with diagnostic support, practice management, leadership and management, infrastructure, mentoring and coaching, and reports and analysis.
NHS England had previously indicated that providers could include “good local practices, GP federations, LMCs or wider primary care organisations who are able to organise and deliver a peer support offer”.
The major healthcare body has also indicated that it could be more difficult for support to be offered to primary care providers owing to the “sheer volume and diversity of practices” but also because “there appears to be more competition constraints than apply to other providers”.
NHS England has made it clear that the reasoning behind developing the particular framework is to “facilitate support to primary care providers in a way that moves towards greater resilience and a strategically aligned sustainable model of care.”
Ahead of the ultimate announcement of the final project, providers interested in participating will be able to gain a better understanding of the process by attending two market engagement events in London and Leeds, which will take place on 28th and 29 June respectively.
NHS England had previously indicated in December 2015 that it had intended to have the framework operable within a 3-6 months timeframe, but delays have ultimately made this impossible.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has defended the Government’s support measures for general practice against criticism that they were taking too long to be finalised, indicating that the delays have been caused by diligent organisation and planning.