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GP practices receive funding boost for improved primary care

GP practices in East Lancashire received a boost this week, when NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) published its plan to support primary care in the area.

The plan sets out how the CCG, will support the 54 GP practices in East Lancashire to provide improved GP care and access to services to the 381,000 people who use GP services. Along with the plan, GP practices have signed up to a quality framework which means that GP practices will receive funding where they can show that they have improved the quality of care for people with conditions such as diabetes, dementia, COPD, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and the care of the over 75s.

About 90% of the contact people have with the NHS is through their GP practice and in regular national patient surveys GPs are highly valued and trusted by patients to provide personal and effective care, close to home. However, they experience exceptionally high demand from patients, particularly those with multiple and often complex health conditions. This high demand creates significant pressure on GP workload. Additionally, many GP practices are operating out of aging buildings that were not purpose built health centres and surgeries. The GP practice workforce is an ageing workforce with large numbers of GP staff approaching retirement age. In addition, there is a national shortage of GPs with difficulties in recruiting GPs and other staff.

Dr Richard Daly, Burnley GP and GP lead for the plan said:

“It’s fair to say that GPs and their practice teams have never worked as hard or been as committed to improving the lives of their patients. But it’s clear that they need support. The challenges are immense and we need to use our collective resources more effectively to work with patients and families to help them meet their needs in order that they can live happier and healthier lives.

"Our plan seeks to provide GPs and their teams with real, tangible support, whether that is through funding for improved quality, education and training, making use of new technology and working in partnership with patients to get the best out of GP practices. We are working with the universities to encourage more local GP trainees. We know for example that GP trainees who learn and study in the area tend to stay in the area and in East Lancashire this is definitely true. The creation of the Mackenzie Clinical Research Centre at UCLAN in Burnley serves as another magnet to attract GPs and other clinical staff to the area. I am hopeful that our plan will really make a difference to the lives of GPs and their staff, as well as patients and carers.”

As part of the ambitious plan to support GP practices, NHS East Lancashire CCG is working with groups of GP practices in each area of East Lancashire called primary care networks. These have been set up to ensure that they can learn from each other, and support each other through mutual aid and expertise. In East Lancashire there are nine Primary Care Networks, these consist of two in Burnley, two in Pendle, two in Rossendale, two in Hyndburn and one in Ribblesdale.

The primary care strategy can be found here.