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(written by: Dr Kieran Sharrock)

NHSEI have announced that £150m will be made available to general practice through the General Practice Covid Expansion Fund (GPCCEF). This fund is designed to support general practices with service provision not related to Covid-19, such as; chronic disease management, immunisation, and screening.

The letter from NHSEI to CCGs and practices said:
“The fund is ringfenced exclusively for use in general practice. It will be for ICSs and CCGs to determine how best it is spent within general practice, with a focus on simplicity and speed of deployment, within the following parameters. CCGs should not introduce overly burdensome administrative processes for PCNs and practices to secure support”

The LMC was delighted that the letter had instructed that the fund should be administered with high trust and low bureaucracy. To facilitate this, the LMC has written to the CCG requesting that the fund is distributed to practices directly on a pounds per weighted patient basis, and that there is minimal monitoring of the activity.

Our letter to the CCG suggests that practices are asked to provide-

  1. Total triage of patients with assessment, advice, and face-to-face consultations if needed.
    • The GPCCEF should be used to back fill absences due to Covid illness, by encouraging contractor GPs, sessional GPs, and other clinicians to provide extra hours where possible.
  2. Oximetry@home
    • GPCCEF should be used to fund purchasing pulse oximeters for patients to use in their own home if required.
  3.  PCNs and practices to start discussions with CCG regarding management of patients with Long COVID in collaboration with LCH
  4. Continued support to patients who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
  5. Maintained capacity for providing chronic disease reviews, vaccinations and immunisations, and screening
    • Within guidance about remote consulting and need for safe working practices
  6. Continued Learning Disabilities Healthchecks
    • Within guidance about remote consulting and need for safe working practices

We have asked that the monitoring is light touch, and we have suggested that this would be limited to

  1. Use flu immunisation and cervical cytology as a barometer of activity, ask practices to provide data at end of March 21 about activity levels in Q4
  2.  Practices to provide LD Healthcheck data for December to March

The CCG are considering these requests, and we hope that they will implement our proposals in full.