NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) have initiated a five-year programme to lead the implementation of the People Plan. One element of this People Plan is ‘Growing for the Future’ which aims to expand capacity in the primary care workforce.
New funding has been made available with a deadline of 31 December 2021, to support implementation of the People Plan through the creation of flexible staff pools that engage and deploy local GPs flexibly to support local primary care.
Every CCG or ICS can apply to receive up to £120k funding to; engage and deploy local GPs and health professionals flexibly in an ongoing way, and to support local primary care, including PCN extended access services.
Primary care flexible staffing pools are designed to support:
- Systems: reducing pressure on spend and improving access to a knowledgeable group of GPs, deployable to wherever the need is greatest
- Practices and PCNs: reducing the burden in accessing temporary staff, and the potential to build better relationships with pool members
- GPs: with increased job security and access to the flexibility of a locum role
Once organisations have established their flexible pool infrastructure, they should consider how it can be further developed as a mechanism to act as a local point of contact, offering support and advice to the GP workforce more widely through robust engagement. The significance of this support has been highlighted by GMC Chief Executive, Charlie Massey who recently warned that numbers of doctors working in the NHS will soon reach a ‘pinch point’ unless immediate measures are taken to improve staff retention after the pandemic.