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NHS spend on general practice drops to 7.2%

The percentage of NHS funding being given to primary care will decrease this year, despite Government claims that it is prioritising general practice, finds Jaimie Kaffash

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will fail to deliver this year on his promise to increase the proportion of funding going into general practice, despite the 3.2% funding uplift, a Pulse analysis has found.

NHS England budget allocations have revealed that in 2016/17, general practice will receive only 7.23% of the NHS budget – down from 7.31% in 2015/16.

This is despite the health secretary promising to increase the proportion of funding received by general practice and both the GPC and RCGP pushing for the proportion of spending on primary care to increase to at least 11%.

But the health secretary’s promise is likely to be fulfilled by 2020/21, as funding rises will lead to the general practice share increasing to 7.72%.

In a statement on the increase in funding for general practice in December, NHS England said: ‘Spending on GPs and primary medical care services will grow in real terms at a higher rate than for other health services, with an extra 4% to 5.4% cash funding every year for five years.’


Mr Hunt reiterated that claim earlier this year, when announcing that a new support package for general practice was being developed. He said: ‘I want to increase the proportion of funding going into general practice, so with NHS England we are now promising to invest 4% to 5% more per year in general practice for the rest of this Parliament, on top of the extra funding CCGs will put into primary care.’

NHS England increased the annual funding for general practice by £310m from April, a 4.22% rise. However, NHS funding as a whole increased by much more – 5.4%, with much of the new funding going to a £1.8bn sustainability fund for struggling hospitals, while ‘specialised care’ received a 7% increase.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said: ‘Despite the commitment to a 4% increase, the reality appears to be that NHS England’s pledge to invest in general practice does not take us any further forward and could even be taking us backwards.’

An NHS England spokesperson said that there was £75m of additional funding for other projects in primary care not included in these figures.

GP funding info-graphic

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Supply driven care. As long as we keep bailing them out, the hospitals will provide more activity resulting in little or no net improvement in health outcome. Jack Wennberg and Elliott Fisher at Dartmouth in US have shown the ability for supply driven care to consume all available resources.The market will not fix a shift of resources required to underpin care closer to home, this shift needs to be an intentional act.

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  • The goodwill of GPs is just not appreciated. Without a fight we continue to absorb all the dumping from secondary care and do all mental health work( a service that is almost non-existant) etc etc.

    NHS managers/Mr Hunt see you as
    non-complaining - So do not expected more support or funding.

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  • Obviously the government wants secondary care to do more work and primary care less,gps should refer everything in to hospitals

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  • The issue is that only GPs know how cost effective and efficient we are. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to get general practice so why are we so surprised when dumba$$ politicians don't get us? The solution is simple, withdraw all goodwill and set a safe level workload. Simples.

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  • Bob Hodges

    There won't be enough GPs to spend only 7.2% of the budget on in a few years.

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  • What next? Death through a thousand nut shots.

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  • It is quite simple. Funding has fallen. Pay has fallen by 25%in 11 years. Workload is up almost 50% in 11 years. So we now get 50% less per item.

    If we are stupid and daft and silly enough to do more and more for less, the DOH will continue to give us less.

    If you could get a solicitor for 6 , why would you give him 10 pounds.

    The likes of Vautery and Nagpaul keep stating the obvious = how bad everything is and how many TV shows and radio programmes they have been on, without actually doing anything at all.

    Action, not words. We have had words from the GPC for years, we know how bad it is.
    If you cannot do anything for our colleagues whom you represent apart from getting gongs, resign.

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