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COVID: Kent GPs ask NHS for more financial support amid the pandemic

Thursday 24th June 2021

Kent GPs have called on the NHS for more financial support amid the pandemic.

Doctors have said they are seeking the release of hundreds of thousands of pounds from a Covid expansion fund to hire extra staff and enhance the digital offer, such as video and online consultations.

It comes three months after NHS England announced an extra £120million of cash for thousands of GPs across the county, supporting the expansion of surgery capacity until the end of September.

Dr Mike Fraunhofer, of Devon Road Surgery in Dartford, said the need for a financial boost was becoming a “pressing issue” amid growing Covid costs.

He told a panel of GPs during a virtual meeting yesterday: “This is vital money to help us.”

His comments came during a gathering of the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) primary care committee, which was attended by several senior officers and doctors.

The CCG oversees the county health service, including 200 GPs and seven large hospitals.

GPs are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem. They treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals.

In December, it was revealed that the surgeries had a combined deficit of £1.4million with growing costs from the pandemic.

Liz Mears, of the Kent Local Medical Committee, said some GP practices urgently need to be expanded to allow more staff to work at the sites.

She said: “Some people are unable to work because there is nowhere for them to do so and it’s due to IT.”

Richard Flack, the Kent CCG’s finance spokesman, agreed there had been “inconsistencies” and said the delayed release of funding would be resolved by July 5.

A further update will be likely be made at the next virtual primary care committee meeting on July 15.