GPs in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire have been told they can get a £74m funding share of £250m of government cash to improve access to doctors over the winter.
Katie Summers, operational director of the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, told West Berkshire Council’s health scrutiny committee that GPs in the area are “all on their knees”.
“It is great to increase the funding,” she added. “But where are we going to get the workforce?”
Across Berkshire West there has been a 76 per cent increase in consultations, but GPs are under fire for reducing face-to-face appointments.
“The changes from Covid have meant that most general practices have moved to a hybrid model using a telephone or video consultation as a way of triage to determine who are in greatest need of the face-to-face appointments,” said Ms Summers.
There are 55 GP vacancies currently in the Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, with some primary care networks reporting zero take up on job ads.
GP practices will have to submit ‘evidence-based’ claims to access funding, such as payslips demonstrating staff have worked more than usual, NHS England has said.
Practices must submit claims ‘promptly’ and ‘no later than two weeks after the end of the month when the costs were incurred’, with claims to be approved ‘within one month’, according to the supplementary guidance.