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The Primary Care Transformation Fund

Focus on from GPC

The GPC have produced this initial guidance to help explain the outcome of the 2015-2016 round of the Primary Care Transformation Fund (formerly Primary Care Infrastructure Fund) for GP premises. 

This guidance is intended for LMCs and practices.

NHS England announced the creation of the Primary Care Transformation Fund, £1 billion pound fund for GP infrastructure and IT in December 2014. Of this, £250 million is to be invested in GP premises every year for the next four years.

GPC have long advocated for the need for greater investment in GP premises and welcome this news.

 

Outcome of the 2015-2016 round of funding

In January 2015, GP practices were invited to submit applications to access this funding.

On the 25th March 2015, NHS England wrote to all practices who submitted an application to the Primary Care Transformation Fund alerting them to the status of their application.

All practices who applied to the Fund should receive a letter informing them of the project's status, including those whose projects were not supported. The letter should have been addressed to whomever submitted the application.

According to NHS England, over a thousand GP practices across the country have had their bids approved in principle as part of the first tranche of the £1billion, four-year Primary Care Transformation Fund. The supported bids range in value from less than £100,000 to greater than £5 million. The total investment in GP premises from the 2015-2016 tranche of funding was £190 million.

Applications have been classified into four categories. More information about the different categories can be found below.

  1. Those bids to be supported as priority for funding in 2015-2016
  2. Those bids with support in principle for funding in 2015-2016
  3. Those bids supported in principle but not funding in 2015-2016
  4. Those bids which failed to meet criteria or were unfeasible and will not be funded

Regional breakdown of bids with in principle support (NHS England, Excel spreadsheet)

Learn more about the Primary Care Transformation fund from NHS England

 

What do the different categories mean and what should practices expect going forward?

Category Information for practices and LMCs
Bids to be supported as priority for funding in 2015-2016

What does this mean?
Projects falling into this category have received in principle support and NHS England has made provision for funding these projects from the 2015-2016 budget. For these project there is an expectation that work commence in 2015-2016. The timeline for completion of the project will depend on the scope of the nature of the work.

Will practices have to submit more information?
Possibly, although this will depend on the nature of the project. For practices who submitted a request for funding large scale project (via a PID), NHS England are likely to request more information. Those practices who applied for an improvement grant (IG1 form) may not need to submit more information.
The requirement for additional information should be discussed with the Area Team.
Will there be recurrent funding attached to these projects?
Practices should discuss this with NHS England. Practices in receipt of an improvement grant will be granted 66% of the value of grant and will be expected to cover the other 34%. This requirement is consistent with the 2013 Premises Costs Directions.
Bids with support in principle for funding in 2015-2016 What does this mean?
Projects falling into this category have been supported in principle, but do not have final approval. Practices should not commit to any expenditure against this fund until they have received final approval.

Will practices have to submit more information?
Under this category, the project is likely to meet the eligibility criteria, NHS England requires further clarification, and must undertake further due diligence, before it will commit to funding the project.
In this context due diligence should be taken to include:

  • ensuring compliance with NHS Premises Costs Directions 2013 and associated statutory and contractual standards;
  • value for money and future affordability checks;
  • confirmation of benefits to be delivered for patients and evidence of patient support or involvement;
  • confirmation of CCG support;
  • probity checks;
  • state of digital readiness
  • consideration of contractual obligations; and
  • confirming the process and timeline for the completion and approval of business cases where these are required.
Bids supported in principle but not eligible funding in 2015-2016 What does this mean?
Projects falling into this category were considered to have had much merit (for instance, the ability to deliver increase clinical capacity), but may not have met the eligibility criteria for the Fund, or were deemed to required a significant amount of work before a business case could be agreed. NHS England may have also had concerns about the deliverability of these projects in 2015-2016.
Will practices have to submit more information?
Practices with applications falling into this category should still discuss their applications with the Area Team with a view to submitting an application for the 2016-2017 round of the Fund.  
Bids which failed to meet criteria or were unfeasible

What does this mean?
Projects falling into this category were rejected on the basis that they either:

  • did not demonstrate the potential to improve access to general practices or the ability to enhance series to patients, or
  • were not compliant with Premises Costs Directions, did not align with the longer term strategic direction of the local health system or were not considered to be value for money.

How were applications to the Primary Care Transformation Fund assessed?

Application were assessed based the following core eligibility criteria:

  • the ability to improve access to general practice (including increased appointment and patient contact time); or,
  • the ability to enhance services to support patients manage their conditions in community settings, with a measurable reduction in emergency attendances or admissions to hospital for those over 75.

Applications were also assessed and prioritized according to whether or not they evidenced:

  • identified need
  • value for money
  • alignment to the longer-term strategic direction for the local health and care system
  • deliverability in 2015-2016
  • links to  longer term sustainability

 

2016-2017 funding and link to larger, strategic premises development

NHS England has indicated that from 2016-2017 the Fund will be used to support larger, more strategic premises development activity - for instance, moving practices, constructing new buildings.

GPC will continue to work with NHS England to ensure that in subsequent years the Fund is distributed equitably to all those practices who need it.