NHS England’s primary care chief has said that general practice should move to a less target-based contract.
Speaking at the Best Practice conference in Birmingham this week, NHS England national director for primary care Dr Amanda Doyle also said that NHS England is trying to be ‘less micromanaging’.
Dr Doyle told delegates: ‘Can we effectively use funding if we chop it up into little bits, with £1.50 per patient for this and 25p for that? No, I don’t think we can.
‘I think we need to move to a less target-driven approach to how we contract for primary care.’
She added: ‘We’re looking at how do we move in the direction of being less micromanaging, taking a more trust-based approach to the contract so that people can prioritise the patients who are most at risk and see if they can make a difference.’
GPs in England are currently tied to the five-year deal agreed in 2019, but the GPC is set to negotiate a new contract to replace this from 2024 – with discussions to begin ‘in the next few weeks’.
Dr Doyle further stressed that NHS England is ‘absolutely committed’ to reducing workload dumping on GPs by hospitals.
She said: ‘It probably surprises this audience to hear that all that stuff is already in the hospital contract – we put into the hospital contract that you shouldn’t do these things. No one takes any notice.
‘It’s not in anybody’s interest to have this system, we have to reset it.’
She added: ‘The trouble is that in a system that’s under so much pressure – we can’t kid ourselves that hospitals aren’t just as pressured as general practice is – everybody’s instinct is to protect their own workload. And so it just gets passed back.
‘Absolutely, we are committed to doing something about that.’
Dr Doyle said that the Government is ‘being really quite supportive’ and has ‘written out to all the other departments about things they shouldn’t be asking GPs to do’.
NHS England’s board last week issued a stark warning that demand for GP appointments is at record levels and ‘outstrips’ capacity.