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Accountants cautious on GP contract changes

GPs are unlikely to see an increase in income as a result of the changes laid out in the 2014 GP contract deal, accountants have claimed

Medical accountants told Pulse the agreement would be likely to alleviate many of the burdens on GPs, and had been universally welcomed by their GP clients, but warned that an increase in pay would not necessarily follow given there is no new funding.

They also expressed concern about how PMS contract holders would fare given a significant amount of money will be shifted into the global sum.

Bob Senior, chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA) and head of medical services at Baker Tilly, said: ‘Any way you cut it, I don’t see how there is fresh money going into practices. It is recirculated and they are doing different things for it. But I cannot see how there is any increase in funding so practices will see any extra finances.’

Debbie Wood, a partner at Moore & Smalley accountants and deputy chair of AISMA, said the deal as a whole was a good one for GPs.

She said: ‘Overall, practitioners will feel that the reduction in box-ticking is a good thing in helping them manage their workload and the patient demand issues.’

But she added: ‘If you look at the detail, any funding that is available is being redirected, so it is not new funding. It appears to be that they are taking funding attached to QOF points, and reallocating that to the funding available to the practice as a whole. It is difficult to see there will be any new funding.’

Sarah Moss, head of medical services at BDO, said she was ‘concerned’about how it will affect GP pay.

‘It could reduce incom,’ she said. ‘There is this new enhanced service, which will reduce A&E admissions. But in order to do this, they are pulling points out of QOF… there is concern they will still have to do the measures in QOF, but there will be more work to do with this new enhanced service.’

There were also implications for PMS practices, Deborah Wood said.

She said: ‘We are also talking about the GMS contracts, but this will affect the PMS contract too with how the allocation is moved. They have to be on the ball to ensure they don’t lose out – for example, the reinvestment of the seniority payments and so on.’