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England GPs call for ‘funding security’ until end of March


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England GPs have called for NHS England to ‘guarantee funding security’ for GP practices until the end of March.

The England LMCs conference also voted for the ‘removal of all mandates and incentives regarding online consultations’.

Delegates attending the virtual conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that said the GPC must work with NHS England to ‘provide a guarantee of funding security for practices until 31 March 2022’.

It said: ‘In light of ongoing patient demand; the unprecedented length of waiting lists for secondary services; and delays to blood testing; the Covid booster programme and the influenza vaccine deliveries; practices cannot realistically deliver their contractual targets for 2021/22.’

The motion was passed with 97% of 203 LMC leaders voting in favour and 3% abstaining.

It also required the GPC to produce ‘by 31 January’:

  • A practice and PCN-facing campaign outlining how practices can ‘facilitate their PCN serving their needs as a priority’ rather than the local ICS
  • A ‘reinvigorated review of the outstanding promises from NHSEI at the beginning of the PCN DES and the original partnership review, holding NHSEI’s words against their own failed promises’ ‘Clear guidance’ on how to ‘mitigate attempts to subvert GMS/PMS/APMS into vertically aligned systems and ICPs’

Proposing the motion, Dr Diana Hunter of Cambridgeshire LMC said GP practices are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of workload.

She said: ‘Here, unlike our acute colleagues, there are no reprieves, no life rafts, no handouts – and yes winter funding is offered, but with huge strings attached – and there has been absolutely no movement on QOF.

‘We all know that many practices will struggle to reach their targets this year and what exactly can we advise practices to stop doing to allow time for this work? Nothing.’

Dr Hunter urged delegates to support the motion ‘not just for the financial protection of the contractual targets, but also to ensure that as we move into the integrated care systems, we do so in a way that protects general practice, our colleagues and our patients’.

She added: ‘We were sold the idea that PCNs were there to save general practice, help us with workload and support practices with their needs and now it appears they are conveniently the building blocks for an integrated system, managing population health and solving health inequalities.’ 

Announcing its GP access plan last month, NHS England reiterated that it had no plans to further protect QOF income, after income protection ended in April.

It comes as a motion calling for an end to ‘mandates and incentives’ around online consultations – including 2021/22 PCN DES targets – was also passed with 95% of votes in favour.

The motion said that ‘GP practices should decide how they can provide the best service to their patients; the introduction of online consulting was inadequately planned and resourced’ and said the conference ‘insists on proper evaluation of the workload, safety, cost and impact on health inequalities of these before any further roll-out is implemented’.

It added that the online consulting ‘should not be a part of the GMS contract’ and that the GPC must negotiate regulations that ‘enshrine the rights of practices to choose which systems they use for their population’.

QOF income had been all or partly protected since the beginning of the Covid pandemic until April this year, when GPs were expected to restart all QOF activity.

Announcing the restart in February, the BMA said that funding protection could be reinstated later in the year if there is a ‘spike’ in Covid cases in the autumn or winter.

And in May, the BMA called on the health secretary to suspend QOF and other targets such as PCN DES specifications amid the fallout around face-to-face appointments in practices.

More to follow

Motions in full

CAMBRIDGESHIRE: That conference believes in light of ongoing patient demand; the unprecedented length of waiting lists for secondary services; and delays to blood testing; the Covid booster programme and the influenza vaccine deliveries; practices cannot realistically deliver their contractual targets for 2021/22 and calls upon GPCE to work with NHSEI to instead provide a guarantee of funding security for practices until 31.03.2022. Conference requires GPC England to produce, by 31 January 2022: PASSED

(i) a practice and PCN facing campaign to outline to practices how they can facilitate their PCN serving their needs as a priority, and not the local Integrated Care System 

(ii) clear guidance around how to mitigate attempts to subvert GMS/PMS/APMS into vertically aligned systems and ICPs 

(iii) a reinvigorated review of the outstanding promises from NHSEI at the beginning of the PCN DES and the original partnership review, holding NHSEI’s words against their own failed promises. 

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY WIRRAL: That conference believes that GP practices should decide how they can provide the best service to their patients; the introduction of online consulting was inadequately planned and resourced, and: PASSED

(i) insists on proper evaluation of the workload, safety, cost and impact on health inequalities of these before any further roll out is implemented 

(ii) directs GPC England to negotiate regulations that enshrine the rights of practices to choose which systems they use for their population 

(iii) believes that online consulting should not be a part of the GMS contract 

(iv) calls for the removal of all mandates and incentives regarding online consultations (v) is concerned that the 21 / 22 PCN DES includes a target for number of e-consultations per practice and calls for this target should be scrapped.

Source: BMA

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READERS' COMMENTS [2]

Andrew Jackson 26 November, 2021 11:33 am

: ‘We were sold the idea that PCNs were there to save general practice, help us with workload and support practices with their needs and now it appears they are conveniently the building blocks for an integrated system, managing population health and solving health inequalities.’

Many warned us about this but were ignored

Patrufini Duffy 26 November, 2021 4:38 pm

Keep opting into a PCN – and keep seeing indefinite data shaming, monitoring and work habit get worse. You get taxed 40% don’t you realise.