GP leaders have supported a call for a minimum payment per patient per year of £200, translating currently to 11% of total NHS funding.
The motion specifically demanded ‘all practices receive at least £200 per patient per year’, compared with a current average of £141 per patient.
It said the current figure was ’wholly inadequate to provide a safe, sustainable and responsive service that meets the growing needs’ of patients.
Presenting the motion, vice-chair of Leeds LMC Dr Nicola Hambridge said current average funding in England calculated by the Health and Social Care Information Centre was ‘38.5p per day – that is 11.75p a month or £141 per year’.
She said this would in a different context buy her ‘a cappucino a week’ or ‘an annual policy covering boiler breakdown… including one annual boiler health check’ and that in light of the fall of the general practice budget from 11% of overall NHS funding 10 years ago to today’s 8%, it was ‘no wonder we are left with a service that is neither safe nor sustainable’.
She said ‘£200 was ‘a minimum, a starting point, to begin to reduce inequality and reverse the systematic neglect of general practice over the past 10 years’.
Dr Richard Claxton from Kent LMC argued that ‘£200 as a flat fee’ was ‘the wrong way to proceed’ because ‘before we know it, that figure will be out of date and we are worth more than that’.
But GPC executive member Dr Brian Balmer urged LMC delegates to remember ‘why they are here’ and note that ‘an increase in funding will allow us to be safer’.
He noted that:‘If the funding goes up, we can do more.’
Although the Government has promised GP funding should increase 4-5% per year until 2020/21, the DH has also suggested that boosting GMS contractual funding to practices will not alleviate the problems within general practice, such as recruitment.
Meanwhile, NHS England suggested in its submission to the independent pay review body that GPs may not need any funding uplift at all in 2016/17. The GPC has branded the claims ‘ridiculous’ and warned they would further damage GP morale.
The motion in full
LEEDS: That conference notes that practices currently provide a year of care for an average of £141 per patient and believes that this is wholly inadequate to provide a safe, sustainable and responsive service that meets the growing needs of their patients and therefore calls on governments to ensure that all practices receive at least £200 per patient per year.