The Royal College of General Practitioners has signalled its intention to play a major role in the GP practice resilience programme.
This £40 million scheme is central to the GP Forward View.
A spokesperson on behalf of the organisation has already outlined the plans of the RCGP to “engage a selected cluster of practices to gather some intelligence on the suitability of a national offer for vulnerable practices”.
The RCGP is already involved in advising practices who have been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission.
Dr Sue Rendel, clinical lead for the RCGP special measures programme, believes that it is imperative for struggling surgeries to receive help at an earlier stage than is the case currently.
Speaking at the RCGP Annual Conference last week, Dr Rendel indicated the plans of the organisation to get involved in this critical aspect of the Five Year Forward View.
“RCGP is piloting an offer to commissioners for upstream support to vulnerable practices. We are moving in to develop an offer for supporting vulnerable practices, with the idea of trying to stop them going through the agonies of going into special measures. We’re just running a pilot at the moment and we are very hopeful that that’s something the college will continue to do. I think it will be really important for us, rather than just pilot from the centre, to make sure we use local groups, local faculties and make sure we’re devolving the support the college can offer”.
General practice is generally considered to be in something of a parlous state, with many surgeries across the country struggling both logistically and financially.
Some practices have been forced to close while waiting on funding from the £10 million vulnerable practice fund; a predecessor of the new arrangement.
Already over 800 practices across the country have been identified which require specific state support.
Yet many of these surgeries have yet to receive any material assistance, according to the testimony of LMCs.
This has been partially attributed to the fact that they had to match any funding received with their own investment.
NHS England had removed this as a requirement for surgeries back in July.
According to NHS England board papers, support available from the £40 million general practice resilience programme will include:
– ‘rapid intervention and management support for practices at risk of closure;
– coordinated support to help practices struggling with workforce issues, such as access to experienced clinical capacity or to develop skill mix;
– change management and improvement support to individual practices or groups of practices, and
no longer require matching funds from affected practices.
Yorkshire and Humber has already been earmarked for the largest tranche of funding.