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GPs should be consulted on practice funding changes, says BMA

GPs should be consulted ‘through an opinion survey or special conference’ over moves to have more ‘equitable funding’ between GMS and PMS practices, says the BMA.

The official BMA submission to the consultation on the Government’s planned changes to the GP contract calls for the Government to commit to not reducing the overall level of funding in general practice and to invest any additional funding into the global sum.

The Government intends to review all GP funding as part of a seven-year process which will result in the MPIG being abolished and baseline funding between PMS and GMS funding made more equal.

The BMA demands that practices are informed in advance exactly how process would be implemented, how it would affect them and that then the profession as a whole is then surveyed to approve the process before it begins. It adds that the Government must also commit to giving outliers proper consideration and to exclude from the process any who need higher funding for legitimate reasons.

It writes in the submission: ‘The proposals appear to be motivated more by a wish to end MPIG funding than by a real commitment to secure fairer access to services for patients. Most notably there is no commitment to preserve PMS funding for primary medical services.

If this is in fact the intention, it is essential that we know as soon as possible how much PMS funding is involved so all practices can begin to understand what is likely to happen to their funding over the next eight years and how they might need to change their work in accordance with changes to their resources.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said: ‘When we were talking to NHS Employers about this last year we were prepared to agree that we would move through a seven-year transition towards more equitable funding. But that would only start after every practice had been provided with detailed information about what it would mean to their practices, and then there would be some form of survey of opinion of the whole of the profession, to see if they could support that process.

‘So there would be two steps before that implementation of the seven-year timeline. There is no clear commitment within the Government’s statement that those two steps will take place. We are calling for them to commit to this.’

The GPC said its survey of 8,000 GPs showed that 85% expected that phasing out correction factor payments would have a negative impact on staffing, services and income and 68% expected the same from reduced PMS funding.