The changes to the GP contract for 2015/16 and 2016/17 included a commitment to address the sustainability of GP practices (including small and multi site practices) through the development of an evidence based approach, including a risk matrix, to assess the extent to which access and the continuity of services can be secured for patients, in particular, in rural and deprived urban communities.

A working group, comprising representatives from GPC Wales, Welsh Government, Health Board Assistant Medical Directors, Directors of Primary Care and Heads of Primary Care, have agreed the attached Sustainability Assessment Framework and Local Assessment Panel guidance. Health Boards are now putting in place the necessary local procedures.

The assessment framework provides a holistic way of reviewing practices’ vulnerability and has two elements: (a) the risk scoring matrix which is prioritised for practices at risk of practice closure within 12 months and / or a reduction in the range of service provision and (b) supplementary information.

Health Boards will follow the Local Assessment Panel guidance when reviewing applications from practices under the assessment framework. The sustainability assessment framework and assessment panel guidance is attached. The assessment framework operational process is currently being developed by LHBs.

Any practice which considers itself vulnerable to risk of closure within 12 months and/or a reduction in the range of service provision are advised to contact their Health Board to discuss in the first instance with a view to making an application under the assessment framework. The Local Assessment Panel will aim to make a decision within 6 weeks of receipt of the completed application for assessment.