Justin Tomlinson – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Justin Tomlinson on 2016-09-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the benefits of localised general practice federations.

David Mowat

The majority of general practitioner (GP) practices are now working in practice groups or federations. This provides opportunities to expand services, stabilise practice income and work at scale which has benefits for patients, practices and the wider system. These include: economies of scale; quality improvement; workforce development; enhanced care and new services; resilience; and system partnerships.

The GP Access Fund specifically has enabled groups of GP practices, often collaborating with others such as community pharmacies or ambulance services, to provide new and expanded services together. Operating under a single contract in a local area and sharing work and resources has enabled the 2,500 practices in the programme to significantly develop their networks.

Most of the GP Access Fund schemes have, through the programme, strengthened their arrangements for collaboration, developed a more prominent identity with patients, and grown their leadership and management capabilities. This has been facilitated by the support programme put in place by NHS England, helping the networks to make faster progress on issues such as IT, governance and care redesign. It has also built a legacy of more cohesive and capable teams for the future.