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GP moneyFebruary 24 2016

GPs will see a 1% pay uplift and increased reimbursement from increased investment of £220 million into the General Medical Services contract.

The additional funding will go towards a need to meet rising expenses facing practices, including higher Care Quality Commission (CQC) fees, practice upkeep and staffing costs, said the British Medical Association BMA.

Other changes to the contract that have been agreed by the BMA GP Committee, NHS England and the Government include:

  • a 28% increase to the vaccination and immunisation item of service fees from £7.64 to £9.80 (pharmacy contractors are currently paid £9.14 per administered vaccine);
  • transferring back £42 million from the dementia enhanced service back into the Global Sum;
  • no new clinical workload schemes or changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF);
  • a commitment to a national strategy to reduce bureaucracy and manage demand on GP services.

The situation contrasts with the prospect of the community pharmacy contract being reduced by 6% in England from October, with the potential outcome being that between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies could close.

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said: “We are pleased to see that GP leaders and NHS Employers have been able to work collaboratively and find a settlement acceptable to both sides. This is in stark contrast to the approach the Department of Health have taken in the December 17th 2015 letter, which set out in an uncompromising series of assertions, a number of damaging and completely un-evidenced changes they intended to force through.

“To date, we have still not seen and been able to examine and challenge the analysis or detail underpinning the proposals. Although the government claims it is engaged in a consultation process, their approach is, sadly, a far cry from the open and constructive discussions we have had in the past.”

NHS Employers has pointed out that building on the 2015-16 GP contract agreement, GPs will be “encouraged” to transmit prescriptions electronically using EPS Release 2, unless the patient asks for a paper prescription or the necessary legislative or technical enablers are not in place. “It was agreed to aim for at least 80% of repeat prescriptions to be transmitted electronically using EPS Release 2 by March 31 2017. This will apply to repeat prescriptions only.”

Despite doctors regarding the deal as steps in the right direction, the BMA has said that “there is a clear need for a wider package of reforms to address the pressures overwhelming GP practices.” Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s GP committee chair, said that annual variations to the contract seen previously “could not resuscitate general practice from the brink of collapse following years of underfunding, rising patient demand, staff shortages and unresourced work being moved from hospitals into the community.

“These limited changes provide some immediate financial support which for the first time in years recognises the expenses being incurred by practices and resources needed to deliver a pay uplift rather than a pay cut. There is no new clinical workload requirement or any change to QOF, and the deeply unpopular and imposed dementia DES will be removed with resources moving into core funding.

“We now need to focus on the real battle to revive general practice and which will require far broader solutions than tweaking the annual contract.”

Links:

BMA announcement

PSNC comment

NHS England announcement

NHS Employers announcement of contract changes

NHS Employers summary of the 2016-17 GMS contract negotiations

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