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As both chair of Tower Hamlets LMC and a representative of Doctors in Unite in General Practice Committee (GPC), monitoring the General Practice Forward View(GPFV) is one of the core parts of my role.
When the GPFV was first proposed in 2015, I was sceptical about the impact it would have on reducing pressures in general practice. The funding was below what was needed, and some of that funding came from earlier investments i.e. £900 million that was earmarked for capital development. I was also concerned that the money would be divided up into smaller amounts that would then have to be bid for, and subsequently increasing the bureaucracy involved for securing funding, something which we are all trying to reduce.
GPC secretariat have recently (and helpfully) distributed a survey to LMCs to provide feedback to indicate if their constituent practices have received GPFV funding they have applied for. To gather more of an understanding of the progress in Tower Hamlets, I attended our monthly practice managers forum recently to ask them how they felt the GPFV was progressing.
The consensus in the room was that while initiatives had been set up at scale, cash had not found its way to individual practices. For example, resilience funding had been spent on our local quality improvement programme, provided via CCG and receptionist training through CEPN. The forum reported that they didn’t want the hassle of making and chasing bids at an individual practice level, but that they were very concerned about the current lack of transparency around funding. No one really knew how much money they were entitled to or whether it had all been spent on initiatives that benefited practices.
This is the sting. We have a good CCG, and I don’t doubt that they are doing the right thing with GPFV funding, but the way GPFV is set-up makes it very difficult to follow and monitor. At scale initiatives are welcome, but GPs and CCGs should not have to bid for multiple pots of money in this way.
We on the ground know what needs to be done to provide a good general practice service. We are professionals and should be trusted, with some light touch regulation, to spend it where it is required. We all know that we need more core funding for individual practices to be able to employ staff freely and when they need, to make sure there we can safely deliver the services that our patients deserve.
Jackie Applebee 10.5.18
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