Voluntary groups could tap into money previously ring-fenced for
health professionals to develop services for hard-to-reach groups,
doctors’ leaders say.
Form next April, the amount of money primary care trusts have to
invest in enhanced services for asylum seekers, drug addicts,
alcoholics, homeless people and those with chronic conditions will
increase by 13 per cent. Although GPs and pharmacists can access
the cash, many are reluctant to develop services for the groups
because of the workload.
PCTs are obliged to set up health and care services for these
groups and doctors’ leaders are keen for voluntary sector
British Medical Association negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman said
many GPs would be happy for voluntary groups to become involved
with providing more care and health services.
“If a voluntary group came to me and offered a service to my
patients with particular needs I’d be interested to hear from
them,” he said.
Dr David Jenner, professional executive committee lead at the NHS
Alliance, said many enhanced services had a “Cinderella” tag.
“I don’t see GPs queuing up to provide these – perhaps that’s where
spending could be higher in the voluntary sector,” he said.