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Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Practices covering a quarter of England have enrolled in NHS’s ‘Time for Care’

Dr Robert Varnam said the programme has 'currently got practices signed up covering nearly a quarter of the country'

A quarter of practices have signed up to NHS England’s Time for Care programme, the head of general practice development has said.

Dr Robert Varnam said the programme, which was launched in July 2016, has “currently got practices signed up covering nearly a quarter of the country”.

Speaking to delegates at Pulse Live in Liverpool last week, Varnam said the programme is aimed at groups of practices across CCGs interested in collaborating to make changes and “free up time quickly”.

NHS England has said practices can expect to free up 10% of GP time in nine to 12 months.

Varnam said the “vast majority” of the money promised in the General Practice Forward View is being spent on schemes “that are just happening”, without the need for practices to opt-in to them.

But programmes like the Time for Care scheme require practices to submit an “expression of interest” on the NHS website.

Once a practice has filled in a form, NHS England will pay for a development advisor to meet with GPs and practice managers to create an action plan, which aims to put in place at least one of the Ten High Impact Actions.

The ten actions include: active signposting; new consultation types; reduce DNAs; develop the team; productive workflows; personal productivity; partnership working; social prescribing; support self care; and develop QI expertise.

According to the NHS England website the “core of the programme” is based on a series of workshops attended by the practice manager and a senior clinician and facilitated by the sustainable improvement team.

Varnam added that the programme also offers “optional extras”, including on-site support for implementing the action plan, practice staff training to become “improvement experts” and bursaries for reception and clerical staff training.

He also announced a separate fund would become available next April to help with the purchase cost of online consultation systems.

Practices can submit expressions of interest to NHS England until August 2018.