If you are a Primary Care Network or GP federation looking ahead to April 2021 and thinking about the ongoing delivery of Extended Access, you are not alone. We have started to see a rapid increase in questions around this service and what the future holds.
The real issue of course, is we don’t know what the money will look like from April, which makes planning for the service near impossible. We also don’t yet have an updated service specification detailing the “ask” of service providers. No doubt these will come in time, but what can you be doing now?
Our sense is to work up a number of scenarios:
1. The money for Extended Hours (£6 per head of population) gets added to the Extended Hours money (£1.45 per head); what could you deliver for this money?
2. The Extended Hours money is removed but you still get £6 per head of population, what could you deliver for this amount?
3. The Extended Hours money is removed, and the Extended Access money is reduced to £5.50, or £5; what service can you deliver at that amount of money?
Into this, you can start to think about what a post-COVID world might look like? What type of appointments you would offer, e.g., video, online, telephone and of course face to face? You could start to analyse what you do now, how many appointments are utilised, what times are popular and how you might increase capacity at those times, while reducing the less popular time slots. You can also look at the services you offer and whether you could increase that offer to include additional items, e.g., we have supported areas bring in smears, LARC fitting and diagnostics. These are particularly good if you have working people or those with caring responsibilities accessing your services.
While we await the updated service specification and confirmation of the money, there is still a lot you can be doing to support your response when the time comes. This will save you a lot of work, normally at short notice, when you have to respond to the offer.
In essence, there is a lot you can be doing now to plan ahead and, for those who need support; the SCW Primary Care Team is is here to help you.
The Primary Care Team in SCW continues to provide support and direction to practices, Primary Care Networks and federations in working to successfully implement new care models, develop connections and work collaboratively within Integrated Care Systems.
Our aim is to enable health and care systems to achieve the best possible outcomes for people, communities and populations.
For more information on our support packages, or if you have any questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org