The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has endorsed the new GP contract and say the BMA did “an excellent job of negotiating with NHS England to secure a deal that is in the best interests of our profession and our patients”.
The contract provides overall funding in excess of £2.8 billion over a five-year period, through practices and networks. It recommends general practice staff receive a 2 per cent increase this year.
A primary care network (PCN) contract will be introduced from 1 July 2019 as a Directed Enhanced Service (DES). Additional workforce and linked funding will be made available through the networks. By 2023/24, the PCN contract is expected to invest £1.799 billion, or £1.47 million per typical network covering 50,000 people. This will include funding for around 20,000 more health professionals.
A new shared savings scheme will be introduced for PCNs so that GPs can “benefit from their work to reduce avoidable A&E attendances, admissions and delayed discharge, and from reducing avoidable outpatient visits and over-medication through a pharmacy review”, according to NHS England.
The contract also includes a new state-backed indemnity scheme, which will start from April 2019 for all general practice staff, including out-of-hours staff – something which RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard welcomed.
"Escalating indemnity costs have become a huge burden for GPs at all stages of their careers, and some GPs have even cited this as their reason for leaving the profession. The College has been campaigning for a state-backed scheme for a long time, and we are extremely pleased that the Government has kept the promise first made by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at our annual conference in 2017,” she said.
Full details of the new GP contract are available here.