NHS England, the Government, and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee have reached agreement on changes to the GP contract in England for 2016/17, to take effect from 1 April 2016.
The new contract will see an investment of £220 million for 2016/17 – part of this will provide a pay uplift of one per cent for GPs.
This agreement is the start of a process for investment, support and reform in general practice which both sides are working together to deliver, with a bigger package due to be announced soon.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Today’s welcome agreement between NHS England and the BMA provides GPs with some stability and support, and shows what can be achieved through sensible and constructive negotiation. However this contract is only one small element of a far wider package we’re jointly developing to help practices with workload, workforce and care redesign.
“That will require radical new options, including further support for GP recruitment and return to practice, funding for additional primary care staff, new options for practice premises, a reduction in paper-based red tape, alternative approaches to indemnity cover, and redesigned out of hours, 111 and extended hours arrangements, to name just a few – all underpinned by much greater team working across individual practices.”
NHS England and GPC have also committed to take forward discussions in 2016 on a number of areas that include; a national approach to reducing bureaucracy and workload management in general practice, a national promotion of self-care and appropriate use of GP services, arrangements for sickness payments, an approach to calculating practice expenses and arrangements for identifying patients with EHIC or S1 and S2 forms through patient self-declaration.
The new developments include:
- GP practices will be required to record data on the availability of evening and weekend opening for routine appointments, which is to be collected until 2020/21.
- GP practices will record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.
- The MenACWY 18 years will be extended to allow for the opportunistic vaccination of 19-25 year old non-freshers who self-present for vaccination.
- NHS Employers and GPC will work with NHS England and the Department of Health to ensure that appropriate and meaningful data relating to patients’ named accountable GP is made available at practice level. This data will be shared internally within practices and used to improve services for patients.
- Whilst the Avoiding Unplanned Admissions Enhanced Service (ES) will continue for a further year with minor amendments to clarify the timeframe around care planning, consideration will be given to its future during the 2017/18 negotiations.
- The Dementia Enhanced Service will cease as at 31 March 2016 and the £42 million resource will be transferred into global sum, in recognition of the fact that GPs are more routinely diagnosing dementia. All other Enhanced Services will continue unchanged
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “GPs are the bedrock of the NHS and I am determined to provide the support they need so they can spend more time with patients. Today’s deal is just the start of significant new investment for general practice which will help GPs to provide a truly modern, efficient service every day of the week.”
Further details are available on the NHS Employers website.