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Latest GP payments show that government must stump up more, says BMA

Represents just 0.4% increase on last year and isn’t sustainable amid rising demand

Caroline White

Friday, 21 December 2018

The NHS paid GP practices in England an estimated average of £152.04 for each registered patient in 2017-18, reveals the latest annual report* on GP payments over the past financial year, published by NHS Digital.

The report includes a breakdown of payments made through the Global Sum, which includes staff costs, Balance of Primary Medical Services (PMS) expenditure, Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF), and Enhanced Services, such as extended opening hours, for 7543 general practices in England.

The figures, which are reported at individual practice, Clinical Commissioning Group, regional and national level, show that in all, £9,050.6 million was paid to GPs last year.

Of this, the largest payments were for the Global Sum and Balance of PMS Expenditure, which accounted for £3,449.0 million and £1,576.2 million, respectively.

Some £798.8 million was paid out for premises and £716.1 million for the QOF.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee England chair, said: “Despite the pressures of increased demand, unmanageable workloads and rising costs, GPs and their practice teams across the country are going to great lengths to provide high quality, person centred care to patients in their area.”

But the maths didn’t add up, he suggested. “These figures show that practices received on average just £152 per patient in the last year to provide unlimited access to the wide range of expert services available at surgeries.

“While this represents great value for the government, less than £13 a month and just a 0.4% increase since last year is clearly not sustainable as demand increases.”

He added: “The prime minister has committed to increase the overall share of the NHS budget going to primary care, and this data underlines how only an urgent and significant increase in investment will address the pressures affecting the profession and patients.”

NHS Digital has also published the General Practice workforce, Final 30 September 2018 report. This presents data about GPs, nurses, direct patient care and admin/non-clinical staff in general practice, along with information on their patients, practices, and the services they provide.

*NHS Payments to General Practice, England, 2017/18. A report prepared by NHS Digital, December 2018.

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