Help shape modern primary care says NHS England as part of NHS Long Term Plan

GPs, patients and healthcare professionals are being given the chance to have their say on plans by the NHS which will help shape the future of a modern general practice.

As it celebrates its 70th birthday, the NHS is looking at ways to reform the GP contract to provide a stronger and more sustainable general practice for patients as part of the new NHS Long Term Plan.

In particular, with a wide range of partners, NHS England has reviewed the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) which provides payments for achieving outcomes that reflect high quality care in general practice.

It is also looking at how general practice payments might change to fairly support the rollout of digital technology across the country.

The changes to the current GP Contract, which was agreed nearly 15 years ago, are being looked at to meet the changing needs of a growing and ageing population and increased use of digital services locally.

Today NHS England is inviting views from GPs, patients and healthcare professionals on both documents.

Feedback can be given using the links below and is requested by August 31;

Primary care is one of the four national service improvement priority areas identified in Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View.

These two pieces of work set out ways to ensure that investment is fair and supports high quality care in a changing environment.

In the case of the Quality and Outcomes Framework, reforms to the scheme are proposed that recognise and support the professional values of GPs and their teams in the delivery of first contact, comprehensive, coordinated, person-centred care.

In the case of digital-first primary care,  proposals seek to ensure that  the way we commission, contract and pay for care keeps up with the opportunities digital innovation offers – ensuring that new technology is safely integrated into health and care pathways, whilst not unfairly destabilising existing services.

Both of these pieces of work will feed into NHS England and the BMA General Practitioners Committee in England discussions concerning next year’s GP contract.

Ian Dodge, National Director, Strategy and Innovation said: “2019 starts the most substantial discussion of the GP contract since 2004 – given the forthcoming long term NHS plan, current pressures on general practice, the emergence of primary care networks, QOF and indemnity reform, the partnership and premises reviews.  This calls for more intensive joint working between NHS England and our partners, particularly the BMA, and I look forward to constructive and fruitful discussions with Richard and his team”

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “In the year the health service turns 70, we need to take serious steps to address the fundamental issues facing general practice, from workload and workforce pressures to unsustainable indemnity costs and problems with premises. NHS England’s commitment to work with us to address these and other issues which we have repeatedly highlighted is welcome.

“We have been pleased to work with NHS England and other partners, to review QOF and produce a report that will stimulate further discussion, given the BMA has been calling for a review of QOF that both provides stability for practices and better enables them to respond to the needs of their patients.

“And while the BMA recognises the many advantages that technology and innovation can provide for general practice, it is important that the implications of its implementation are carefully considered. We welcome the move from NHS England to engage on how this is best achieved.”