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GP contract deal secures 1% pay uplift and no change to the QOF

GPs are set to receive a 1% pay uplift next year, as belated contract negotiations between the GPC and the Government have concluded.

The agreement on the 2016/17 contract in England includes increased investment of £220 million into the GP contract, a 3.2% total funding uplift, of which 1% has been calculated to the be pay uplift and 2.2% reimbursement to meet rising expenses facing practices such as indemnity fees, national insurance, employer superannuation increases and running expenses.

The Department of Health said this also includes £15 million that will cover the massive hike in CQC fees.

The deal will also see the end to the controversial dementia DES, that saw practices paid to screen for memory problems, with the resources transferred into core contractual funding.

In addition, the GPC said it has reached a ‘joint commitment’ with the Government to 'explore the end of the QOF’ - with no changes to the framework to be made this year.

The joint commitment also includes exploring an end to the avoiding unplanned admissions DES although this will still continue in 2016/17.

The GPC said the Government has also committed to ’a national strategy to reduce bureaucracy and manage demand on GP services’, and a 28% increase to the item of service fees for vaccinations and immunisations from £7.64 to £9.80.

However NHS England added that the deal will also see GPs required to:

  • record data on the availability of evening and weekend opening for routine appointments until 2020/21;
  • record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.

And the GPC stressed that the Government still has to come up with a ‘rescue’ deal for general practice.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'The GPC was clear from the outset that these annual variations to the contract could not resuscitate general practice from the brink of collapse following years of underfunding, rising patient demand, staff shortages and unresourced work being moved from hospitals into the community.

’These limited changes provide some immediate financial support which for the first time in years recognises the expenses being incurred by practices and resources needed to deliver a pay uplift rather than a pay cut.

Dr Nagpaul further highlighted that there is 'no new clinical workload requirement or any change to QOF, and the deeply unpopular and imposed dementia DES will be removed with resources moving into core funding’.

But he added: ’However, these changes do not detract from GPC’s ultimatum to Government demanding a clear rescue plan to sustain general practice in the immediate and longer term. We now need to focus on the real battle to revive general practice and which will require far broader solutions than tweaking the annual contract.’

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: 'Today’s welcome agreement between NHS England and the BMA provides GPs with some stability and support, and shows what can be achieved through sensible and constructive negotiation. However this contract is only one small element of a far wider package we’re jointly developing to help practices with workload, workforce and care redesign.

‘That will require radical new options, including further support for GP recruitment and return to practice, funding for additional primary care staff, new options for practice premises, a reduction in paper-based red tape, alternative approaches to indemnity cover, and redesigned out of hours, 111 and extended hours arrangements, to name just a few - all underpinned by much greater team working across individual practices.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a GP rescue package before the end of February, that should ‘go further’ than the contract changes.

Commenting on the contract agreement, he said: 'GPs are the bedrock of the NHS and I am determined to provide the support they need so they can spend more time with patients. Today’s deal is just the start of significant new investment for general practice which will help GPs to provide a truly modern, efficient service every day of the week.'

What the 2016/17 contract deal includes

  • Increased investment of £220m (a 3.2% funding uplift) into the GP contract to deliver a 1% pay uplift and reimbursement to meet rising expenses facing practices, including higher CQC fees (£15m), practice upkeep and staffing costs.
  • An end to the dementia enhanced service with a transfer of resources to core funding.
  • No disruption for practices from annual contract changes, with no new clinical workload schemes or changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)
  • Joint commitment to explore the end of the QOF and “Avoiding Unplanned Admissions” enhanced service.
  • A commitment to a national strategy to reduce bureaucracy and manage demand on GP services.
  • A 28% increase to the vaccination and immunisation item of service fees from £7.64 to £9.80.
  • GP practices will be required to record data on the availability of evening and weekend opening for routine appointments, which is to be collected until 2020/21.
  • GP practices will record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.
  • The MenACWY 18 years will be extended to allow for the opportunistic vaccination of 19-25 year old non-freshers who self-present for vaccination.
  • NHS Employers and GPC will work with NHS England and the Department of Health to ensure that appropriate and meaningful data relating to patients’ named accountable GP is made available at practice level. This data will be shared internally within practices and used to improve services for patients.

Source: BMA and Department of Health

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Readers' comments (56)

  • Leave before burnout totally overwhelms you.I am.Hunt is determined to destroy Doctors-consultants,juniors,GPs the lot

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  • Start with all indemnity costs will be met by DOH - include us under crown indemnity.

    All CQC costs, GMC as well, as well as appraisal will be met by DOH directly as well, so none of this well pay you peanuts and you can pass it on to them waste of time.

    CQC can then justify absurd fees to DOH.

    GMC spends more time protecting patients and persecuting doctors that it should be paid for by DOH, not doctors, to continue its current role.

    Then give us above inflation pay rise on top of that and its a start.

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  • Vinci Ho

    There's a fine line between extortion and negotiation.

    Bruce Wayne(Gotham)

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  • David Wrigley

    I was also at the GPC debate (as Lancs and Cumbria rep) and spoke very clearly in terms outlined above. General practice is on its knees and close to collapse. In fact it is collapsing in some parts of the country with practices closing, GPs walking away and recruitment nigh on impossible.
    The workload we now have is unsafe and unsustainable. My (fully staffed) practice has well over 100 same day triage calls to get though on a Monday with all other GPs doing routine surgeries. It is a crushing workload. The sheer volume we get through is unseen by our patients and misunderstood and ignored by our politicians. If my practice was A&E we would have been on black alert but we can't do that. This scenario is replicated across the country
    We need to take the fight to the politicians and we must let our patients (voters) know that we want the very best for them but with the current political defunding of the NHS the service is likely to grind to a halt.
    The 7 day mantra from Cameron and Hunt is a joke. We can't provide a safe 5 day service never mind a 7 day one.
    GPC has a role in highlighting all the above and we need to ramp this up. I will certainly be speaking out and saying this within and without the BMA and GPC.
    I think we all feel this way but we need to get the truth out there so everyone sees and understands the crisis in general practice

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  • Why don't all the Partners in one area get together, sign DATED resignations and call the government ????? Hmmmmmm lack of scrotal volume may be the answer....ex GP Partner (sick of moaning other GP Partners with no backbone) happy in Oz.

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  • Working as a locum at the moment, aged 51, waiting to see if GP Partnership or other longterm role interests me to jump back way in H*ll with this kind of trivial vacillation. Please understand that the DoH doesn't want GMS in any form and has to walk the line of looking like it is helping, so that when we walk away it can be our fault in the eyes of the Media. Look at how they did this with NHS Dentistry. Message to BMA: please spend your efforts on positioning us well with the (Inter)National Corporates which is where we will end up. Yes, without this, we will all be in £50k pa 8-session contract drudgery for ever. GET ON WITH IT BMA! No more deckchairs, man the lifeboats. Please send a message to the SS Carpathia that we are coming, but at a premium. The Gong-seekers at the BMA know this already.. yes you do!

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  • @Sunil Bhalla; You can't end your membership of the LMC.
    It's family, ain't it?:)
    And you don't choose family (though you would have voted for one of those representing you)Feel bad about your choice of candidate? Don't vote for sweet talking scum bags next time.

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  • When will GP's realise their so called 'rescue package' is a mere fantasy. It will never happen!

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  • @ Anonymous | GP Partner21 Feb 2016 12:15pm

    The GPC negotiated this, not the LMC.

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