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NHS ignoring pleas for GPs to be paid for care home visits

NHS England is ignoring GPC’s calls for payment by activity in areas such as care home visits and prescribing, the GPC has said.

Addressing colleagues at the annual LMCs Conference, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said it was ‘a rather big problem’ that NHS England was not ‘a least bit interested’ in talking to GPC about that.

Last year’s LMCs Conference called on the GPC to explore the possibility of practices being paid by activity rather than on a capitation basis.

This year, the conference is in the large part focusing on debates rather than voting on motions, and Dr Vautrey made his comments in a debate on GP funding.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘A rather big issue, not least of the fact, is that NHS England aren’t the slightest bit interested in talking to us about that. Nevertheless, we are pushing them towards… having distinct funding for distinct pieces of work.’

These distinct pieces of work included ‘care home visits and prescribing’, Dr Vautrey said.

During the debate, delegates said that they were largely satisfied with the GPC’s negotiating efforts in the area, as GP leaders called for a larger share of the NHS budget, revisions to the allocations formula so deprived areas receive more funding and for the Government to cover GP indemnity costs.

Dr Rami Eliad from Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC said: ‘What we need is core funding to be increased, stability to be established and for general practice to be given the chance to do what it does best, to provide extremely cost effective care.’

Derbyshire LMC chair Dr Peter Williams said that his practice is rated outstanding in every area by CQC ‘because we have one GP for every 1,000 patients’. But he said they have made that happen by investing their own money.

He said: ’We are dispensing, we train, we work in the local community hospital, we have LMC income, we have a Macmillan GP. That means we have an extra 25% compared to a regular practice to be able to do what we need to do.

’If we were all put back to 11-12% [of the total NHS funding] we could all do that and core funding will make this happen. For every pound that we put in from our own pocket, we are saving our CCG £3 in costs.

If [the government] invests then we, general practice, will save the NHS.’

Dr Vautrey said: ’Underfunding of general practice has led to the crisis that we know to be all too evident.

’We know NHS is supposedly being protected compared to social care and other departments within Whitehall.

’But we also know that hospital trusts are regularly bailed out by billions of pounds on an annual basis. We know that governments repeatedly dream up schemes like seven-day working or PFI projects or CQC inspections… which they know they can’t afford but yet blindly carry on regardless of the consequences.’