GP contract negotiations are ‘well advanced’, but changes are likely to be overshadowed by the package of measures to be announced by the health secretary next month, the head of NHS England has said.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said in his report to today’s board meeting that ‘substantial funding and support’ will be provided to help reduce workload, improve workforce planning and redesign services.
More details of the support will be announced next month, he said, echoing the recent announcement by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The GPC said that it had persuaded the Government to hold off on the announcement until after the special LMCs conference this weekend.
NHS England has already announced that there will be a 4% increase in funding for general practice every year until 2021.
There has been no detail about how this will be allocated, but Mr Stevens said next month’s announcement will clarify this.
In his chief executive report, Mr Stevens said: ‘Following the outcome of the Spending Review we expect to be able to announced in February a substantial and wide ranging programme of funding and support for GPs and primary care.
’This will include measures on workforce, workload and service redesign. Constructive negotiations on the 2016/17 general medical services contract are well advanced with the [GPC], recognising that the February GP package will go much further than any one-year contract can in helping GPs with the real pressures they face.’
GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘If they just come forward with short term, one-off measures as they did with the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund – where significant amounts of money were given to small areas but were not sustained – then they are likely to fail. We need to continue to push NHS England and the Department of Health to resolve workforce issues. The resources need to be sustained.’
He added that the Government had wanted to announce the new measures before next month, but the GPC persuaded ministers to wait until after the special LMC conference in London this weekend on action needed to ensure GPs can deliver a ‘safe and sustainable service’.
This delay will enable GPs to express their concerns without being pre-empted by a Government announcement, said Dr Vautrey.
LMCs special conference taking place this weekend
LMCs conference 2013 – voting card – online
Source: Jon Enoch
GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that the Government had wanted to announce the new measures this month, but held off until after the special LMCs conference at the request of GPC.
The special conference is set to discuss motions on undated resignations, moving towards a salaried GP service, stopping certain services and increasing the duration of GP appointments to at least 15 minutes.