A new GP contract, agreed by NHS England, the Government and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee, will take effect from 01 April 2018.
It will see an investment of £256.3 million going into the contract for 2018/19, a 3.4% increase overall.
This includes £60 million to be paid to GP practices to help cover the increased costs of indemnity inflation from 2017/18.
All GPs in England will use digital tools to help patients get quicker and easier access to family doctors and specialists as part of the changes announced today.
Actions agreed include;
- Complete the roll out of the Electronic Prescription Service which makes it quicker and easier for patients to get their medicines by allowing prescriptions to be sent direct to pharmacist – saving GP appointment times and making it more convenient for patients.
- A further £10million will be invested in practices to support full implementation of the e-Referral Service to make this available at every GP practice by October this year. This allows GPs and patients to identify the hospitals with the shortest waiting lists and speeds up the process of booking the first consultant appointment for both GP and hospital.
- Widen piloting of NHS 111 directly booking GP appointments at practices that want to participate.
NHS England and GP practices up and down the country are continuing to make it easier and more convenient to get an appointment. By the autumn of this year all parts of the country will offer evening and weekend GP appointments with local practices working together to ensure this is available in each area.
The contract agreement also makes clear that practices must not advertise private GP services where that service should be provided free of charge on the NHS.
The new contract builds on the General Practice Forward View to improve patient care and access, and invest in new ways of providing primary care.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The 2018/19 contract is a further concrete step in investing in and strengthening general practice, which is at the heart of our modern NHS.”
Dr. Arvind Madan, NHS England Director of Primary Care, said: “This new contract is positive news for patients and GPs, especially the focus on digital solutions. This will help GPs focus their time and resources on the areas that matter most to their patients.”