The BMA’s GP committee has today reached a contract agreement with NHS England spanning the next five years, which introduces widespread changes aimed at addressing both the workforce and workload pressures currently experienced by GPs in England, and improving services for patients by beginning to realise ambitions laid out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.
The contract gives practices almost £1bn across five years, while another £1.8bn will be invested to support the formation of Primary Care Networks, in which practices will work together to provide care to patients across a wider geographic area.
Key changes in the package include:
- Guaranteed investment of £405m through the practice contract and network contract in the first year, meaning every practice will be able to uplift staff pay by at least 2 per cent
- Building Primary Care Networks from the ground up. Networks will typically cover 30,000-50,000 patients and be led by a local GP in a clinical director role.
- Funding for the expanded network workforce. Networks will receive 100 per cent recurrent funding to employ social prescribers and 70 per cent for clinical pharmacists this year, and the same for physiotherapists, physician associates and paramedics as they are introduced.
- The introduction of a state-backed indemnity scheme beginning in April 2019.
- Increased digital access for patients, meaning practices will make 25 per cent of appointments bookable online, improve their online presence and give new patients access to their digital records as standard.
- An agreement between the BMA and NHS England to make joint representation to the Government with proposals to reduce the problem created by the pension annual allowance, to address the impact this is having on GP recruitment and retention.
- NHS 111 direct booking in to practice appointments at a rate of one appointment per 3,000 patients available per day. This will happen only after triage.
- Funding for practices to deal with subject access requests following the removal of the ability to cover costs under GDPR legislation. Practices will also have access to a Data Protection Officer (DPO) through their clinical commissioning group (CCG), to provide support on GDPR issues.
- QOF changes to remove unnecessary indicators and provide a focus on professionally-led quality improvement.
In the first year, this funding – delivered through a directed enhanced service (DES) paid to practices – will allow networks to employ at least one social prescribing link worker and one clinical pharmacist, while subsequent years will see the workforce expanded by over 20,000 people to include physician associates, practice-based physiotherapists and paramedics. It is hoped this wider team will both improve patient experience, ensuring they are seen by the correct professional at the right time, and help GPs manage their workloads.
The contract also delivers the much-awaited state-backed indemnity scheme for all GPs, meaning family doctors will be brought in line with their hospital colleagues, and no longer have to personally fund clinical negligence cover, which has become increasingly unsustainable and been a key factor impairing GP recruitment and retention.
Further changes will be implemented from 2020 onward, including:
- Increased workforce as part of the networks, totalling more than 20,000 additional roles in England by 2023/24.
- Investment to increase via both the practice contract and network contract, allowing practices to uplift their staff pay at least in line with predicted inflation.
- Resources available to practices to enable online and video consultations.
For more information please visit www.bma.org.uk/gpcontractengland1
You will hear more about the contract agreement announcement from Dr Farah Jameel (GPC England Executive member) if you are attending our first LMC Conference on the 8th February.
We will also be hosting two roadshows where Dr Richard Vautrey (GPC Chair) / Dr Krishna Kasaraneni (GPC England Executive member) will go into more detail with the opportunity for Q&As. Please click on the flyers for more information: