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24.04.17

BMA criticises ‘patchy and inadequate’ progress of GP Forward View

The BMA has criticised NHS England for a “patchy” first year of delivery of the GP Forward View, saying that though funds have started getting through to practices, too often money has been delayed and distributed unevenly to practices.

The BMA’s study also reiterated a warning about the number of GPs being trained, as despite the FYFV setting out an ambition to increase GP training recruitment to 3,250 a year, there had been a drop of GPs in the last quarter of 2016, prompting the union to say it had “grave concerns” that progress was not sufficient to hit targets.

In the evaluation released today, the BMA looked at the progress and current status of the GP FVFV and found that though progress was starting to be made on implementing the plan, the delivery of funds to GP practices in the first 12 months of delivery had been irregular and inconsistent.  

In particular, the BMA’s GP committee found that during 2016-17 an additional £220m was invested into the funding pot for general practice. This makes up around 13.5% of the £2.4bn recurrent funding increase expected by the end of the strategy in 2020-21.

The union also reported a contribution of £17.2m over the past 12 months had been put towards the general practice resilience programme out of the total sum of £40m that was pledged over five years.

In addition, support amounting to £1.50 per head that was put in place to accelerate extended access to GPs in 2016-17 only made its way to 11 out of the 18 LMCs that NHS England targeted.

This latest development also follows health leaders hitting out at the government for a lack of funds for GPs leading to the current crisis in general practice.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s GP committee chair, said that the organisation believed it was vital that NHS England was held to account to deliver its promises and ensure that funding was getting through to the GP practices that desperately needed it.

“Our analysis of the first year of the GP forward view highlights that whilst there has been some delivery, there have been cases where promised funding has been severely delayed or distributed unevenly across the country,” he argued.

The BMA committee chair also described the implementation of the plan as “confusing and inadequate,” adding that this shortfall was unacceptable given the huge pressures on general practice from a combination of factors, including rising patient demand, falling resources and staff shortages. 

“Many GP practices are at breaking point and they need certainty that they will get the resources necessary to deliver safe, effective care to their patients,” he stated. “We will continue to work with grassroots GPs to provide LMCs and practices with resources to hold NHS managers to account, which has included launching new guidance recently on how to ensure work is not unnecessarily transferred from secondary care. 

“Most importantly, we expect politicians of all parties to put forward positive, well-resourced proposals that will not duck the crisis facing the NHS and general practice in the upcoming general election campaign.”

Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England director of Primary Care said: “The GP FYFV is a major, five-year plan to stabilise and strengthen GP services and in its first year alone has seen £500m more invested than 2015/16, with over £27m of resilience funding supporting 2000 practices across England.

"The BMA has a key role to play in helping us deliver further improvements and we will continue working with them for the benefit of GPs and patients in the years to come.”

Today’s news comes following a number of warnings about the poor state of general practice in England. Earlier this month, a survey conducted by the BMJ warned that the high stress and workload of the job was leading to a potential mass exodus of GPs from their posts.

Last week, the CQC also warned that too many GP practices were being rated as inadequate, as it stated that half a million patients were receiving care that was not up to scratch.

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