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Why general practice is such good value for money

A breakdown of the funding given to each individual GP practice has been published for the first time, revealing that the average practice received funding worth £136 per registered patient in 2013/14.

But this average amount conceals massive variations between practices and illustrates that the annual funding per patient for unlimited access to GPs is considerably less than a Sky TV subscription, which is worth around £206 a year.

Some of the variations were explained by the inclusion of dispensing practice income and by different contracts for practices in urban and rural areas, but there were also quirks in these data, such as two surgeries listed as having actually paid the NHS last year.

Funding levels for practices in England

Data lowdown - online

The figures reveal that APMS practices took home the highest average funding  – with two receiving more than £2,000 per patient – followed by PMS practices, then GMS. They also reveal that QOF accounted for around 13% of practice income, with premises payments and enhanced services accounting for around 8% each.

The publication of individual practice funding was included in the 2014/15 contract at the behest of the Government in order to improve transparency, with health secretary Jeremy Hunt introducing the policy by promising that ‘the public will know what salaries GPs are taking home for NHS work’.

Data lowdown - online

But the Department of Health later tempered the announcement by stating that the figure published would be an average salary across a practice.

Practices will be required to publish these latest figures on their website by April 2016 under the new GP contract agreement.

However, NHS England insisted last year that practice-level figures were an ‘interim solution’ before it pushes ahead with ‘publishing individual GP net earnings in 2016/17’.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, says: ‘The figures as a whole demonstrate that GP services are delivering comprehensive care for a whole year at a cost of £136 per person.

‘This funds unlimited access to GP appointments – now more than six visits per year on average – as well as home visits and care for housebound vulnerable patients, immunisation programmes, cervical screening, chronic disease management and many other services.’

Data lowdown - online