Health bosses explore “alternative approaches to funding” for four “unaffordable” schemes


Local health bosses will work with partners to explore opportunities and alternative funding to support services across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, a meeting heard.

The BLMK Integrated Care Board (Friday 27 January) heard that Primary Care Commissioning and Assurance Committee (PPC&AC) Extraordinary Meeting held earlier in the month had been “well attended” and attracted a “lot of attention” in the media.

The purpose of the meeting was to receive the outcome of a “robust” prioritisation exercise, recommended an indicative budget, and to approve the list of schemes to be supported in principle.

The four schemes in Bedford Borough that could be considered for alternative funding (image: LDRS)

Before the Board was asked to note the resolutions made by the PCC&AC, Alison Borrett, the committee chair, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of the factual inaccuracies that have been reported about the meeting.

“So we can be clear on what was – and was not – agreed.

Ms Borrett then read out a short statement.

“Many GP practices and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across BLMK aspire to improve their premises to meet the growing needs of their local populations,” she said.

“These aspirations include, but are not limited to, the development of new premises, extensions to existing premises and the relocation and consolidation of existing surgeries to Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs,” she said.

Ms Borrett said that to support these ambitions, the BLMK ICB intends to invest an additional £1.95m per annum in primary care estates.

“This represents a 22 per cent increase in the ICB’s investment in primary care and takes the full amount spent on primary care estates to just under £11million per annum by 2025/26,” she said.

“This additional funding will enable 23 local projects to progress, with benefits for a wide range of communities across Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

“The ICB’s current revenue budget for primary care services was, unfortunately, not able to support all those GP practices and Primary Care Networks wishing to make improvements.

“The ICB’s Estates Team carried out a robust prioritisation exercise, based on national criteria with aligned clinical leadership.

“My committee, on January 11, decided that 23 schemes could be supported.

“Details about the criteria against which decisions were made is set out on the ICB’s website.

“My committee decided that, at this stage, 30 schemes were unable to be supported.

“The ICB will work with partners to explore opportunities to progress these schemes, including alternative approaches to funding, and will continue to support practices and PCNs with addressing operational pressures as necessary.

“More information for residents, including the list of schemes supported, is available on the ICB’s website,” she said.

The board noted the resolutions made by the Primary Care Commissioning and Assurance Committee.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter