Prime Minister's Challenge Fund

Prime Minister's Challenge Fund

A series of pilot projects are in place across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to improve access to GP services and links between practices.

Pharmacists are playing a key role as the local NHS looks at ways of offering greater support to patients close to home. As well as making life easier for patients, this helps to ease pressure on hospitals.

Nearly 40 different schemes are being piloted – many involving multiple GP surgeries working together – using money from a successful £3.575m bid to the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund. The bid was one of the biggest in the country.

Some of the projects in place in Devon include:

  • Practices joining together to offer evening and weekend opening hours
  • Community pharmacists in most of Devon extending support for people with minor/winter ailments, easing pressure on GP surgeries; this includes authorising prescription medicines for conditions such as bacterial conjunctivitis, impetigo and nappy rash
  • Devon Doctors, the out-of-hours service, is offering bookable appointments for patients with local GPs in the evenings and at weekends in Barnstaple, Bideford, Plymouth, Honiton and Exeter
  • Some practices in Devon are piloting the use of consultations via Skype, the internet videophone system

Initiatives that are currently running in Devon

The following initiatives are in place in Devon as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

Exeter Primary Care Ltd
  • Provision of routine, pre-bookable and same day appointments for patients registered at GP practices in Exeter
  • Clinician service every Saturday and Sunday, from 8am – 6pm (excluding Bank Holiday weekends)
For more information, email

Devon Doctors
  • Provision of bookable appointments for same day primary care at four sites 
  • The service will operate every Saturday and Sunday, as well as Bank Holidays, from 9am – 5pm
For more information, email

Surge capacity/CCG-wide
  • Proposal to increase access to primary care out-of-hours and to extend access to GPs at weekends
For more information, email

Claremont Practice – Exmouth
  • Pilot to offer one additional GP session a week that is dedicated to Skype, providing on-line tele-consultations as a new way of accessing a GP for patients
For more information, email

College Surgery Partnership – Cullompton
  • A pilot involving the surgery employing an additional GP to work on Mondays to provide additional urgent care/winter surge capacity for visits and appointments
  • Includes a call back within one hour
For more information, email

South Brent Health Centre
  • Piloting a health hub aimed at supporting demand and capacity with a growing registered patient population
For more information, email

Beacon Medical Group – Ivybridge, Plymouth and Plympton
  • Pilot to develop a dedicated sessional GP, plus healthcare assistant, to support vulnerable patients, reduce the likelihood of unplanned admissions and bring forward the timing of required admissions
  • The practice pharmacist will run a minor illness service, triage, and support the GPs and healthcare assistants
For more information, email

Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee – Northern and Eastern Devon
  • Pilot to provide better access and more choice for people with minor ailments in the winter who are seeking advice and treatment
For more information, email

St. Levan Surgery – Plymouth
  • Pilot exploring the enhanced role of a primary care pharmacist in an area of significant deprivation
  • The aims are to improve patient safety and care.
For more information, email

Chard Road Surgery
  • Pilot has been set up to deliver a GP-led appointment system, allowing patients to receive seamless urgent and booked care
  • Also piloting a walk-in children’s clinic
For more information, email

Wembury Surgery – Plymouth
  • Setting up a Doctor First system to manage the capacity for GP clinics, to better serve the practice population
For more information, email

Lisson Grove and Woolwell Medical Centre – Plymouth
  • Pilot of the Microtest Guru system, which is a live patient record system for home visits, such as for housebound patients and those in care and in nursing homes
For more information, email

North Devon computer system
  • Proposal for a single computer system to be used across all Northern Locality GP practices
For more information, email

Information technology
  • Pilot of GP services that support the development of an integrated and shared clinical record 
For more information, email

The lead for this work is Pat Smith. Pat can be contacted via email at

Rate this page