Improving access to primary care services

Across England, all Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are required to put in place arrangements for extended access to general practice (GP) from 1 October 2018. Extended access will allow all patients to have easier and more convenient access to GP services, including appointments in the evening and at weekends.

The six Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent CCGs (the CCGs) have worked together to develop their commissioning approach. In doing so, the CCGs have considered the extended access services required in each of our areas and how they can be delivered. As a result of that work, the CCGs are satisfied that the services required to meet the needs of our local populations are an extension of the services already provided by GP practices during core opening hours. Consequently, the CCGs are also satisfied that only general practice is able to provide those services.

The CCGs will now seek to commission extended access services directly from general practice, on the basis that the services are list-based primary medical care that cannot be delivered by any other providers. Formal proposals for delivery the services will be invited from general practice and it is anticipated that these will come from groups of practices working together at scale as localities or Federations although there will be no mandatory requirement for any GP to deliver the services. Proposals will then be assessed by a non-conflicted panel ahead of making any contract award decisions. The extended access contract(s) will not impact on existing GMS, PMS or APMS contracts and their requirements, currently in place.

The CCGs consider that this is the most appropriate way to secure services to meet patients’ needs and improve the quality and efficiency of services. The proposed commissioning route is also in line with the GP Forward View and the need to achieve transformation of general practice services.

The Governing Bodies of the CCGs have approved this commissioning route.

December 2017 to February 2018: The six NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent were looking at how to give patients easier and more convenient access to services at GP surgeries outside of the usual hours, including over the weekends. A survey was created to capture this feedback. This survey is now closed.

A summary of the feedback received from the patient engagement exercise, including the online survey, document is available here. This feedback is now being used to help shape what the potential models might look like in each area. Once the models have been developed, through engagement with local primary care providers, these will be shared with patients and the public in each area.

The CCGs will also be seeking ongoing feedback from patients and the public on any new models developed to make sure they are meeting the needs of the patient populations.

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