Not all vulnerable practices received funding

According to NHS England, only 600 out of the 900 practices identified as being vulnerable and at risk of closure have received funding under the £10million Vulnerable Practice programme.

The fund was a key part of the ‘new deal’ for GPs when it was announced back in 2015, but in the intervening 18 months only £4million has been spent.

NHS England has argued that it plans to commit the remaining funds by the end of this year.

However, GP leaders, who have already criticised the lack of immediacy in NHS England’s actions on other support packages, said there was still “much more to be done” to support practices in need.

A spokesman for the General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC) said the remaining cash needs to be distributed so it can provide vital support to practices in need.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for NHS England has admitted that the organisation has not done enough to get financial support “out the door” to practices in trouble.

The fund was intended to be used to parachute in teams of managers and legal support to help vulnerable practices adopt new ways of working or collaborate at scale.
However, it has been revealed that, in some areas the practices in the most precarious position had not been able to unpick the red tape in place to access funds. This had initially included practices having to match the funding offered to them but this requirement has been scrapped.

NHS England has subsequently launched a £42million Practice Resilience programme, which aims to invest £16million in 2016/17 as part of the GP Forward View.