UK creates GP league tables to decide allocation of NHS funds

GP league tables, NHS fund
© Denis Kalinichenko

The UK Government is creating GP league tables which will measure “appropriate levels” of face-to-face appointments – those failing to hit quotas will not receive NHS funding

The new plans, unveiled by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, will see GPs competing in league tables to provide “appropriate levels” of appointments in person. If the GPs fail to hit a certain quota of face-to-face appointments, then they will not be able to access new NHS England funding – which is currently worth £250 million.

Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to ensure patients can see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live. I also want to thank GPs and their teams for their enormous efforts in the most challenging times in living memory.”

“most challenging times in living memory.”

The new plans mean that GPs must see patients in person, unless there is “good clinical reason” to avoid a close-proximity appointment.

The league table will decide which surgeries get to use the £250 million winter access fund from NHS England, which is earmarked to fund locums and support from other health professionals such as physiotherapists and podiatrists. Generally, the fund is attempting to boost urgent same-day care – meaning shorter waiting times for situations that require medical intervention.

Sometimes, patients defer to their local A&E because there are no free appointments at their local practise. This leads to a build-up for an emergency service, which was especially noticeable during the heights of COVID death and hospitalisation in the UK.

16% of NHS patients happy to use phone appointments

According to a study by Nuance, 4% of NHS patients would select video consultations over face-to-face appointments, with 16% likely to opt for a phone call over an in real life meeting. But the researchers found that 60% of people would be happy to let AI create their clinical documentation, replacing the traditional handwritten doctors’ note.

However, GP league tables are creating a backlash online – with some describing the concept as disrespectful.

Tweeting about the proposal, one person said:

 

Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “This plan will give our dedicated general practices the support needed to increase capacity, boosting the number of appointments for patients to see and speak to their GP practice.”

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