Revolutionising Patient Access: Unveiling the Capacity and Access Support Payment in the GP Contract 2022/23

Elderly patient using smartphone

The Capacity and Access Support Payment, a key feature of the GP contract 2022/23, aims to strengthen general practice capacity and enhance patient access to services in the UK. By offering funding support, this initiative encourages practices to provide a balanced mix of face-to-face, telephone, and online appointments while promoting collaboration within Primary Care Networks. Addressing the increasing pressures on primary care, this payment paves the way for improved patient experience and a more patient-centred healthcare system.

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The Capacity and Access Support Payment, recently announced in the GP contract for 2022/23, is a crucial development for healthcare in the UK. This new funding allocation aims to bolster general practice capacity and improve patient access to services, addressing significant challenges faced by primary care providers.

The primary objectives of the Capacity and Access Support Payment are to ensure that practices have the necessary resources to meet growing patient demand and to enhance the overall patient experience. This includes offering a balance of face-to-face, telephone, and online appointments, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of patients.

The announcement of the Capacity and Access Support Payment comes at a critical time for the NHS, as the primary care sector is grappling with increasing pressures due to an ageing population, the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and persistent workforce shortages. If utilised correctly, this funding support is expected to provide much-needed relief to general practices and enable them to deliver high-quality care to  patients.

The Capacity and Access Support Payment encourages collaboration among primary care organisations, as practices will be required to work together within PCNs to optimise the use of the funding and share best practices. This collaborative approach is expected to facilitate the development of innovative care models and service integration, ultimately benefiting patients and communities across the UK.

The introduction of the Capacity and Access Support Payment in the GP contract for 2022/23 is a welcome development for primary care. By providing crucial financial support to general practices, the initiative will undoubtedly improve patient access to services and enhance the overall quality of care, which is vital for creating a more patient-centred and sustainable healthcare system.

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Funding Objectives

The Capacity and Access Payment aims to:

  • Enhance general practice capacity to meet patient demand for services
  • Improve patient access to services, including face-to-face, telephone, and online appointments
  • Support practices in meeting the core requirements for appointment access, as outlined in the GP contract
  • Support practices and PCNs to find and fund innovative digital solutions to improve access

To be eligible for the Capacity and Access Payment, practices must:

  • Provide services under a General Medical Services (GMS), Personal Medical Services (PMS), or Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract
  • Be part of a Primary Care Network (PCN)
  • Comply with the core access requirements, including offering appointments during core hours and extended hours access, providing a balance of appointment types, and implementing active signposting and clinical triage.

Dashboard reporting

Funding Allocation

The funding allocation is based on a weighted capitation formula, which considers factors such as list size, patient age distribution, and morbidity. Practices will receive monthly payments, and adjustments will be made quarterly to account for changes in list size. The new diverted IIF funding is paid in two parts;

  • Capacity and Access Support Payment (£2.765 adjusted population) is paid monthly (70% of the IIF diversion)
  • Local Capacity and Access Improvement Payment is a maximum £1.185 adjust population (30% IIF diversion, paid no later than August 2024)

*A potential for an ICB diversion in the above where ICBs forecast that not all of the Capacity and Access Improvement Payment IIF funds will be awarded they should seek to invest these in local access improvement to general practice for the population where appropriate within wider ICB plans.

Monitoring and Assurance

Practices receiving the Capacity and Access Payment must meet specific monitoring and assurance requirements, including:

  • Reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to appointment availability, appointment types, and patient access.
  • Participating in the GP Patient Survey and other patient experience surveys to gather feedback on patient access and satisfaction.
  • Submitting timely data on appointment activity through the Appointments in General Practice (AiGP) data collection.
  • Participating in the Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) to support urgent care services and improve patient access.

Collaborative working, peoples hands

Accountability and Performance Management:

Practices are accountable to their commissioners for the appropriate use of Capacity and Access Payment funding. Performance management will be carried out at the PCN level, with the local ICS providing oversight and support. Practices are expected to work collaboratively within their PCNs to address any performance issues and share best practices.

Key actions:

PCNs must develop an access improvement plan that is agreed with the ICB by Friday 12th May 2023 which includes;

  • Baseline ‘patient experience of contact’ – Use the GP Patient Survey (GPSS) for baselining. However due to the GPSS 2024 not being published in time, therefore the criteria for assessing improvement will be Friends and Family Test.
  • Baselining of online consultation metrics including functionality, registrations and usage.
  • Current GP appointment data
  • Existence of cloud-based telephony

More information can be found in the 23/24 CASP Guidance.

In consideration of the access improvement requirements outlined in the GP Contract, as a practice or PCN manager we recommend you research digital technologies and how they are configured as part of your onward digital strategy for 23/24. If you would like further information or support in developing your access improvement plan, baselining, surveying, collating data or choosing digital tools, please contact us.

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