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How will the updated NHS England and NHS Improvement plans affect your practice?

by Valeria Fiore
6 February 2018

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NHS England and NHS Improvement released updated 2018/19 plans for the NHS, in which they expect CCGs to get more involved with general practices on a number of aspects.
How will this update concern you?
Here’s our pick:
1.       Extended access to GPs
Currently, about 52% of the country has now access to a GP appointment over the weekend or on evenings, according to the updated NHS 2018/19. The goal is for all practices to make extended access to GPs available by 1 October 2018.
As it was stated in the document, ‘this must include ensuring access is available during peak times of demand, including bank holidays and across the Easter, Christmas and New Year periods’.
2.       Join a local primary care network
CCGs will encourage you to join a local primary care network, which aim at connecting care between GP practices, hospitals, community services, social services and the voluntary sector. 
NHS England is aiming at doing that ‘so that there is complete geographically contiguous population coverage of primary care networks as far as possible by the end of 2018/19, serving populations of at least 30,000 to 50,000’.
3.       Better primary care facilities
NHS England renewed its commitment to improving primary care facilities, reporting a 844 Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) schemes completed and a further 868 schemes in development.
General practices need to receive the coveted investment that allows them, in some cases, to ace at CQC inspections.
The NHS updated plans for 2018/19 encouraged CCGs to ‘ensuring completion of the pipeline of Estates and Technology Transformation schemes, and that the schemes are delivered within the timescales set out for each project’.
4.       Sustainability and resilience funding
Use it all by March 2019, said NHS England.
The plan said that CCGs should ensure ‘that 75% of 2018/19 sustainability and resilience funding allocated is spent by December 2018, with 100% of the allocation spent by March 2019’.
The General Practice Resilience Programme is a £40mfund to be spent over four years. It was launched as part of the General Practice Forward View to help those practices worst affected by rising patient demand and neighbouring practices that might struggle if a practice in the vicinity is overwhelmed by demand. According to NHS England, £8m of this funding has been allocated for 2018/19 and 2019/20.
5.       High impact ‘time to care’ actions
Head of general practice development at NHS England Dr Robert Varnam has stressed various times on how 10 high impact actions would help GP practices manage their workload better. Back in 2016, he told Management in Practice that a quarter of practices had signed up to NHS England’s Time for Care programme.
NHS England and NHS Improvements are now expecting every practice to implement at least two of the high impact ‘time for care’ actions.
To refresh your memory, here are the 10 high impact actions in full. 

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