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New NHS Alliance response to the announcement of the 2017/18 GP contract settlement

February 8, 2017

New NHS Alliance welcomes the announcement of the agreement between NHS England and the British Medical Association (BMA) on the funding to be offered to GP practices in the forthcoming financial year.

It is a step in the right direction to see an overall investment of £238m into primary care, including funding to support staff, insurance and inspection costs, reduce bureaucracy and target some of the most vulnerable. However, we must not underestimate the size of the challenge facing general practice. The most concerning issue for patients is that appointment times (10 minutes on average) are still the shortest in Europe; and on the delivery side we see frazzled staff trying hard to cope.

We note that the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF); a points based payment system to link targeted activity to payments remains, pending further discussion. New NHS Alliance sees this as a major opportunity to think very differently about how primary care is delivered. We welcome the opportunity to be involved in this and in particular we see a more social approach to health such as:

  • How the community itself, with voluntary services, can work with primary care to give support, for example by surgeries hosting tea parties for the frail and isolated elderly
  • How we can balance ‘what’s wrong with what’s strong’ – focus on what people are good at and can share with others, giving people back purpose and pride, rather than just fixing what is wrong. ‘Men’s sheds’ are a classic example of this, where older men can come together for mutual company and support and can help fix things for the community.
  • Encourage better joint work with the housing sector, local authorities and community-based organisations. Poor housing is a huge issue for the very old and very young and for people with mental health problems.

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Notes to editors:

  • For enquiries, please contact: Judy Harris at judyharris15@aol.co.uk  or on 07717 691845
  • New NHS Alliance mission is … ‘to infect the UK health system with wellness’. You can find more information here
  • New NHS Alliance has a goal to make Health Creation and health creating practices a core part of the UK healthcare system alongside a greater focus on prevention. We believe that this is the best way to reduce health inequalities and deliver a sustainable health service. Click here for a short briefing paper on Health Creation.
  • You can find coverage of our Health Creation Action Summit here
  • We intend to publish a ‘Manifesto for the adoption of health creating practices’ in the spring of 2017