The BMA’s GPs Committee has concluded its negotiations and reached agreement with NHS Employers on changes to the GP contract for 2017/18.
The highlights of the negotiations are:
- The Avoiding Unplanned Admissions directed enhanced service (DES) will be discontinued from 31 March this year. £156.7million will be added to the global sum.
- There will be full reimbursement of practices’ total CQC fees for 2017/18.
- £30m has been secured to cover rises this year in indemnity cover costs relating to GMS services. This will be paid to practices on a per patient basis – it will not be weighted.
- Funding of expenses has been agreed which should deliver a pay uplift of 1%, to be added to the global sum. This includes £2m recurrently to account for increased practice workload relating to records transfer by primary care support services, £3.8m to recognise increased superannuation costs of 0.08% as a result of changes to the NHS pension scheme and £1.5m to pay for completion of the workforce census.
- Improvements to GP sickness cover reimbursement.
- Maternity payments no longer subject to a pro-rata reimbursement.
- The sum paid per health check in the Learning Disabilities DES to increase from £116 to £140.
- A new initiative agreed to replace the GP Retainer Scheme with greater funding and some key changes.
- New conditions that mean practices which regularly close for half a day, on a weekly basis, will not ordinarily qualify to deliver the Extended Hours DES, although there is provision for exceptions, such as at some branch sites. No changes will be made to the qualifying criteria of the DES until October.
For more details on this, please read this letter from GPC chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul.
More details can also be found on the BMA’s website.
Michael Wright, chief executive of Nottinghamshire LMC, said of the contract: “There are welcome headlines in the contract which see an overall investment of £238million into General Practice, so we’re told.
The global sum for GMS practices from April 2017 is now at £85.35 per patient (up from £80.59) and for PMS it is at £84.87 per patient (up from £80.09). The amounts differ
because the GMS practices see the MPIG (correction factor)
recycled into this amount which PMS practices do not benefit from.
A QOF point is now worth £171.20 (up from £165.18) and the average practice list size is 7,732 (up from 7,460).
As with all changes, the devil truly is in the detail and we are yet to see how some of these
changes will be implemented. The indemnity monies, for example, are going to be helpful and we await further guidance on how to divide this up in practice, particularly when it comes to salaried GPs.
And the issues over registering overseas visitors are again yet to play out but we would resist any moves to make general practice a border control of sorts.
There are some sensible and helpful changes to the contract which will help to reduce bureaucracy in some cases, BUT we must guard against the workload just being transferred elsewhere.
There will be many questions about the finer details of the contract changes and so we have agreed with NHS England locally to put on two events early in 2017/18 to discuss the implementation of the changes, but also to allow a wider discussion on
practice finances, with space for a
question and answer session with finance staff from NHS England.
We also need to ensure that the GP Forward View, which has been much heralded, actually benefits practices and that you all get to know about the various schemes – of which there are 82 in total over five years – and how they may help you.
To this end, we have secured a commitment from all seven of our CCGs to meet in a new GPFV task and finish group, chaired by the LMC to both hold the commissioners to account for their use of the monies but also help them identify ways of supporting practices individually and collectively.
This is a significant project which, regardless of opinions over the conception of it, does represent a series of interventions which may help you at practice level to a greater or lesser degree, so let’s get together to make the most of it.”