Steve McCabe – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Steve McCabe on 2016-10-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2016 to Question 45660, what estimate he has made of the number of general practices that require assistance from the new practice resilience programme.

David Mowat

Following the launch of the General Practice Resilience Programme in July 2016, NHS England’s local teams have been working to finalise a range of offers that can be put in place to support practice sustainability and resilience. This includes selecting which practices will receive this support, by using nationally published criteria.

NHS England was initially due to set out which practices would be included in the first cohort to receive support through this programme, on 30 September 2016. The deadline for this assessment and report has been revised to 18 October 2016, to allow greater opportunity for practices to self-refer for assessment. The Department cannot provide an estimate of the number of general practices requiring assistance from the new practice resilience programme until this date, when NHS England will have completed its assessment and report.

Identifying practices in need of support is challenging, as there are elements which are subjective and it can be hard to measure the nature, severity and weight of issues facing individual practices. The national criteria seek to chart a middle route between those aspects that are measurable and those less tangible issues. The nature of the issues facing a practice can be generally grouped as follows; demand, capacity and internal issues. The national criteria acknowledges the importance of local input from clinical commissioning groups and local medical committees, as well as how self-referral of general practices is legitimate as a self-declaration of their support needs.

An earlier NHS England programme, the Vulnerable Practice Programme, launched in December 2015, identified around 900 practices as potentially vulnerable and in need of support.