Extra money aims to improve family doctor services in Leeds

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NHS bosses will invest more than £2.2m in the city’s GP practices following the formation of a single organisation to provide services for the city’s population.

The funding will help the newly-formed Leeds GP Confederation to boost the health of the poorest people in the city, health bosses said.

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group approved the funding following the formation of the confederation in March. A CCG spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have agreed resources to support the Leeds GP Confederation, putting health and care professionals within GP practices at the centre of delivering improvements in patient care.”

Health bosses plan to use the funding to provide more services in the community and ease the strain on busy Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital.

A report to the CCG’s last board meeting said the cash would help meet targets for treatment for people with high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, a condition which causes an irregular heartbeat.

The CCG spokesperson said: “Through the CCG’s support of the Leeds GP Confederation, GP practices in Leeds will be more sustainable and remain at the heart of local care for patients.

“We will work closely with our GP practices, our own CCG staff and other key people and organisations including patients and the wider public to understand exactly how we can achieve our ambitions.

“It is too early to outline exactly how the funding will be used however we are confident we have the right infrastructure and expertise in the city to deliver services closer to home where appropriate to do so.”

The confederation was created as a social enterprise following the merger of three groups of practices known as Calibre, the South-East Leeds GP Group and the Leeds West GP Network. It followed the three CCGs which served the same areas of the city also becoming a single organisation with an annual budget of £1.2bn.

After the merger in April it emerged that Leeds CCG would have to find £34m in annual savings to balance the books. Leeds Teaching Hospitals has also revealed that it must also make £75m of savings this financial year, despite ending 2017-18 with an £18.9m surplus.

REGION-WIDE ACCESS ISSUE

Just 35 per cent of patients across Yorkshire have full access to extended hours doctors appointments, with it offered by only 36 per cent of GP practices

In Wakefield, three of its 38 practices do not offer full access to extended hours, affecting 20,038 patients.

The only CCG areas in Yorkshire where no GP practices offer pre-bookable, out-of-hours appointments for at least 1.5 hours all week round are Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Calderdale, East Riding, the former Leeds North CCG area, Scarborough and Ryedale, and Vale of York.