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Practices with 2-3 GPs have the lowest expenses, NHS analysis shows

Non-dispensing, GMS-contracted practices with two-three GPs have the lowest level of expenses per registered patient, analysis has suggested.

The data analysis from NHS Digital (formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre), which looked at GP income and tax records from 2013/14 by practice level, showed that such practices had average expenses of £76.18 per patient.

Conversely, the highest level of expenses were found at single-handed, dispensing, PMS-contracted practices, with average costs of £189.71 per patient.

The analysis, which was commissioned by NHS England to inform its ongoing review into the Carr-Hill allocations formula, also found a large discrepancy in costs of practicing in a rural versus an urban area.

Non-dispensing rural practices on (GMS and PMS) contracts had expenses of £91.90, compared to urban counterparts with only £84.63 per patient.

NHS Digital advised that the figures ‘should be treated with an appropriate degree of caution’ due to ‘uncertainty associated with sample data’ obtained from GP census data already published.

The long-standing pledge to update the Carr-Hill formula, which weights practice funding according to characteristics of the patient population, was most recently revisited in the GP Forward View but the complex issue has been under discussion since 2007.

Pulse revealed last year that some discussions had raised the prospect of a separate contract for practices with rural or atypical populations.