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Forward View set to fall short on funding pledges, GP leaders warn

NHS England’s GP Forward View pledge to bring GP spending to 11% of the NHS budget will not be met, with the share to stand at just 8.4% by 2020/21.

This is the finding of a new analysis by the BMA’s GP Committee into the impact of the £2.4bn rescue package announced last year.

If the GP Forward View delivers on its targets, general practice should expect to have its funding increased to £12bn by 2020/21.

However, the GP Forward View says that this figure includes money reimbursed to practices for the cost of drugs given to patients.

If this money is not included, funding for general practice will only increase to £11.2bn by 2020/21, the BMA argues.

It says it ‘should also be considered that not all the funding announced in the GPFV will go to practices directly’.

The report said: ‘Therefore, the £11.2bn is likely to be an overestimate of what is used to support GMS/PMS practices.’

According to the BMA, a total of £14.6bn is needed to sustain general practice, leaving a £3.4bn shortfall in 2020/21, when all the targets laid out in the plan are due to be met.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse the funding is needed ‘to really get back to where we were in funding levels back in 2006’.

He said: ‘Clearly it’s insufficient funding for the growing population and the growing complexity of patients that GPs are trying to provide care for and I think we have real concerns that their needs to be a step-change in funding going into general practice and the wider community services so that we can properly meet the growing needs of patients.’

Dr Vautrey added that the shortfall is likely to impact recruitment and retention in the profession.

He said: ‘What we are very aware of is young doctors and medical students are looking at the long term funding commitments made by Government and NHS England and making decisions about whether they take a career in general practice or whether they pursue a hospital career or they look for other opportunities.

‘And these are long term commitments that young doctors are making and if we’re genuinely going to sort out the recruitment and retention crisis we have to get back to the time when people were competing to become GPs.’

The BMA called for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget in April 2016 as part of its ‘urgent prescription’ but the 11% figure was initially an RCGP demand, made in 2013.

The analysis follows a GPC progress report published in April which described the implementation of the GP Forward View as ‘patchy’.