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GPC shelves review of Carr-Hill formula

Exclusive: The GPC has dropped plans to review the Carr-Hill formula for GP practice funding as part of next year's contract talks, and warned a 'period of stability' is essential as practices struggle to balance budgets.

The Carr-Hill formula, named after the professor who devised it and introduced as part of the 2004 contract, is applied to practice populations to calculate the global sum each practice receives, and reflects a range of factors such as patient demographics, mortality and rurality.

As part of the coalition agreement, the Government pledged to look at increasing funding for practices in the most deprived areas via a so-called ‘patient premium'. In a letter to GPs last year GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman wrote that the negotiators had ‘agreed in principle to explore how the Carr-Hill formula might be adjusted from 2013/14 onwards to give greater weighting to deprivation factors'.

But speaking to Pulse this week, GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: ‘We did a review in 2007/08 and the people who complain about the formula are the ones hard done by – like me, in a deprived area of Derbyshire.

‘But when you change the formula, you create different winners and losers. What practices need is a period of stability. The last thing we need is changes to the formula now.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘GP contract negotiations are underway and it would be inappropriate to comment. We have made clear that the allocation of NHS resources should be based on a range of factors, including deprivation to ensure that afair allocation of funding is given to the areas that most need it.'