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Global sum to rise by £7.31 per patient in 2014/15

The global sum will rise by £7.31 per patient to £73.56 from 1 April, the Government has revealed in contract guidance published on Monday.

The official Statement of Financial Entitlement (SFE) for the GP contract for 2014/15 revealed the final value of the updated global sum, which was £66.25 in 2013/14.

The new figure is 0.62p per patient higher than previous estimates, even when the 0.28% pay uplift was taken into account.

The SFE also set out specifications for existing DESs, including an increase in payments for the learning disabilities health checks DES from £102 to £116 per eligible patient.

However, specifications for the new unplanned admissions DES, one of the largest changes to the contract, are yet to be unveiled after being held up by a ‘sticking point’ related to the bureaucracy involved, GPC leaders said.

In an associated contact guidance document, also published today, the Government revealed that publication of net pay is to become a contractual requirement for GPs from 1 April 2015 subject to ensuring it is on a like-for-like basis with others in the NHS.

The controversial plans were first floated alongside the conclusion of contract negotiations towards the end of last year, and NHS England has previously said it will begin publication of gross pay to practices starting this summer, with net payment publications to begin next year.

The document said: ‘NHS Employers and GPC have agreed to work with NHS England, to develop proposals on how the publication of GP NHS net earnings relating to the contract should be implemented for 2015/16 (i.e. publication using data on 2014/15 earnings). A working group has been established and is now working on options available to ensure that the calculation and publication of GP net earnings is on a like-for-like basis with other healthcare professionals.’

‘Publication of this information under the chosen option will be made a new contractual requirement to commence from 1 April 2015. This commitment is subject to the arrangements being in line with others in the NHS.’

The document also revealed that the Friends and Family Test will begin from December this year, with final guidance to be produced by October.

The test will include two questions of patients, one of which will be whether they would recommend the practice to friends and family. However, it said the details of the second question will be announced later in the year.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said GPs should welcome the rise in global sum payments, but added that it was set against the imposed changes to the minimum practice income gurantee (MPIG), which will start to be phased out from tomorrow, and the upcoming changes to PMS contracts.

He said: ‘What is welcome in this is that money that was previously being paid to practices for performance-managed process, requiring ticking of boxes, is now in core funding. But for many practices what is unfortunate is that this will be overshadowed by the imposed phasing out of the MPIG and in particular also we remain concerned about the Government’s planned changes to PMS contracts.’

He also apologised for the delay in negotiating the terms of the unplanned admissions DES, the details of which he expected the Government to publish ‘imminently’.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘There were some loose ends that needed to be tightened up in terms of the arrangements with regards to implementing the enhanced service and also the payment mechanism. We were very clear that we did not want this enhanced service to increase the bureaucracy in general practice.’

‘We wanted the whole care-planning process to be kept simple and allow practices to exercise meaningful, clinical judgement. The enhanced service is the biggest change to the contract so therefore we needed to be assured that the work GPs were going to be asked to do was going to be professionally appropriate.’

‘That is what has taken a lot of time, and which has taken far longer than we would have liked.’