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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Incentives promised for GPs as Government sets out funding plan

By Ian Quinn

GP commissioning consortia are set to receive extra incentive payments for improving health outcomes and turning around the finances of NHS services.

However, practices also face having their pay docked if they are seen to provide a poor quality of care.

The Government has revealed it plans to draw up a funding formula to back its plans. This will see the independent commissioning board calculate practice level funding for every practice in the country, which will be based on new national data already being explored by the Nuffield Trust. This is set to include higher-than-average funding for practices in the most deprived areas.

The funding given to consortia will equal the total funding allocated to individual practices.

The White Paper outlines plans for GP consortia to receive a maximum management allowance ‘to reflect the costs associated with commissioning.'

But it also sets out plans for a ‘premium' which would be paid to consortia ‘achieving high quality outcomes and for financial performance.'

However, the independent commissioning board will be able to impose contractual penalties on GPs if they are seen to deliver a poor quality of care.

The document says that the Department of Heath will seek to establish a ‘single contractual and funding model to promote quality improvement, deliver fairness for all practices, support free patient choice and remove unnecessary barriers to new provision.'

‘Our principle is that funding should follow the registered patients on a weighted capitation model, adjusted for quality. We will incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged areas.'

Mr Lansley has warned there will be ‘no bail out' for GP commissioning groups that fail, although he has said that individual GPs will not be held individually accountable.

‘We've got to face up to the fact that not all organisations succeed,' he said. ‘PCTs fail. The same thing will be true in any organisation.'

He added that the commissioning board ‘would have a responsibility to step in where there is a failure of a risk of failure.'

Mr Lansley said the Government was determined to prevent a repeat of accusations in the 1990s that GP fundholding was a way for GPs to line their pockets.

He said that under the new system ‘if GPs generate a surplus they wouldn't be able to pocket it, but neither would they be personally liable if they generated a deficit.'

The Government has laid out details of how GP commissioning will be funded The Government has laid out details of how GP commissioning will be funded Your questions on the White Paper

Got a question about the health White Paper or GPs' new commissioning role?

Primary care tsar Dr David Colin-Thome has agreed to directly answer your questions and queries exclusively for Pulse. Let us know what you want to ask at feedback@pulsetoday.co.uk and we'll put your questions to him.

What does GP-led commissioning mean for you?

Attend the NAPC Conference on 20 and 21 October in Birmingham for an outline and post-election analysis of the new coalition Government's key health policies, with stimulating expert debates on key issues facing primary care over the next five years.
Click here to find out more

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