DOCTORS in South Derbyshire look set to be handed a share of more than £5 million of government funding in a bid to trial several initiatives to make services more flexible and accessible for patients.
The scheme, called Transforming General Practice, will see surgeries across the area to trial different approaches that could include offering extended hours from 8am to 8pm, opening seven days a week, new ways to access consultations such as by phone, email and Skype and introducing telecare to help people to better manage their conditions at home.
The initiatives will be paid via a grant of £5,252,463 from the £50 million Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.
Ian Matthews, deputy medical director for NHS England (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire), said: “We would like to congratulate all involved in the development of this fantastic pilot that when delivered will make a real difference to the lives of patients.
“It was up against very tough competition and the innovation and hard work of those bidders should not be overlooked.
“This is just the start for making changes that will hopefully carry on beyond the pilot year and we are looking forward to working with GPs in Derbyshire to deliver these changes to the benefit of patients.
“This heralds the start of a new era in healthcare Derbyshire.”
In October 2013, the Prime Minister announced the Challenge Fund to improve access to general practice and NHS England was asked to lead on the selection and management of the pilot schemes.
GP practices were invited to submit their ‘expressions of interest’ in December and NHS England’s area teams considered them before a national assessment panel made the final decision.
Dr Charles Alessi, chairman of the National Association for Primary Care, said: “We commends those practices that bid for the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, and I am not surprised by the overwhelming response.
“The Challenge Fund will give colleagues the time and ability to work to ensure better patient outcomes in an out-of-hospital environment.”
NHS England will now oversee the pilots during the next 12 months.