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Practice management news round-up: 10 November

Medeconomics' round-up of recent news that affects your business. This week: Sunday opening, local contract for non-core services, BMA premises survey and GP 'clusters' in Scotland.

Routine GP opening on Sundays provides little benefit, study shows

GP access on Sundays provides little benefit and Saturday appointments would meet the needs of most patients who cannot visit their practice during the week, researchers have found.

Just 2% of patients who report that their practice is not open at convenient times say Sunday opening rather than Saturday opening would make access to GPs easier, the study by University of East Anglia researchers found.

Three quarters of patients (76%) say weekend access to GPs would make it easier to attend primary care appointments according to the study, published in the BJGP.

But the study, which analysed data from the national GP patient survey, found that patients who wanted weekend access were more than twice as likely to prefer Saturday appointments (74%) compared with Sunday (36%).

Commissioners agree £4.6m local contract for non-core GP services

Commissioners in east Cheshire have agreed proposals for a 'landmark' £4.6m package to fund non-core GP services, but practices will have to achieve over £3m in savings.

If practices sign up, the new Caring Together scheme will pay £22.77 per weighted patient to provide a comprehensive range of non-core services, many of which are already being delivered by practices.

The scheme would help solve longstanding concerns over unfunded GP services. East Cheshire's primary care co-commissioning committee agreed last week to use £2m new CCG investment for the package on top of £1.1m of existing locally commissioned service funding and £1.2m of reinvested PMS premium funding being withdrawn under NHS England’s equitable funding drive.

Practices will, however, be required to achieve £3.01m of savings through proactive care, reducing demand and deflecting activity in other parts of the health service in order to retain the full investment.

The new service specification would bring together a wide range of new and existing non-core services into a single CCG-wide contract. Services that would be provided by every practice include improved access, enhanced support for long-term conditions and enhanced investigations, including 24-hour BP monitoring and ECG reading.

BMA surveys GPs amid fears £1bn infrastructure fund failing to benefit practices

GP leaders are consulting the profession over fears that a £1bn primary care infrastructure fund will be diverted or fail to deliver promised investment in GP premises.

The GPC said last month that the fund was ‘faltering’ and that delays and administrative hurdles meant promised improvements for practices were failing to materialise.

More than 1,000 GP practices were allocated £192m of the first £250m tranche of the four-year infrastructure investment fund.

BMA leaders have now launched a survey of GP practices to assess whether investment is coming through from the programme. 

Click here to take part in the BMA premises survey

BMA Scotland manifesto calls for practices to form 'GP clusters'

Scotland should develop 'GP cluster groups' to involve every practice in the country in leading NHS reforms, the BMA has demanded ahead of the 2016 Scottish parliament election.

GPs need to be in a ‘position of influence’ to ensure plans to overhaul the way the Scottish care system is organised are a success, BMA Scotland said in its 2016 election manifesto.

It also called on the Scottish government to ensure that ‘additional resources and capacity’ are put into general practice to help the profession cope with the influx of workload from hospitals and rising demand driven by an ageing population.

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