The GP contract negotiations for England have concluded with a 3.4% uplift to overall funding for 2018/19.
The £256.3m in additional funding is to cover rising expenses – including £60m to cover indemnity inflation – plus a 1% pay uplift for GPs pending a recommendation by the independent pay review body.
As part of the agreement, between NHS England and the BMA, there will also be a widening of the pilot of NHS 111 directly booking GP appointments at practices that want to participate.
The BMA said there would also be a major review of GP premises, working with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, to begin as early as summer 2018.
The negotiations have also resulted in:
- An agreement to complete the rollout of the Electronic Prescription Service;
- A £10m investment to support full implementation of the e-Referral Service to make this available at every GP practice by October this year.
- Changes to Premises Cost Directions to enable further investment in GP premises, and clarification on issues related to last person standing;
- Uplifts for services fees for specific vaccinations and immunisations;
- Improvements in funding for sickness and maternity/parental/adoption leave cover;
- Strengthened violent patient regulations.
Pulse had already reported that there would be no changes to QOF and no changes to enhanced services.
BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘I am pleased we have reached agreement with NHS England on changes to the contract this year, which includes some important improvements in areas such as pay and expenses, indemnity and premises.
‘While this agreement alone will not resolve many of the issues facing general practice today, it builds on our progress from the last two years and provides stability to practices at a time when there is little else stable for our profession.’
As previously reported by Pulse, the final verdict on the GP pay uplift requested by the BMA (of 2% plus RPI), could be delayed until summer.
NHS Employers today said the DDRB recommendation is expected in May.
Dr Vautrey told Pulse: ‘We have agreed an interim 1% uplift to pay whilst we await the outcome of the delayed DDRB process. Any additional award will be backdated.’
Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England director of primary care, said: ‘This new contract is positive news for patients and GPs, especially the focus on digital solutions. This will help GPs focus their time and resources on the areas that matter most to their patients.’
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘The 2018/19 contract is a further concrete step in investing in and strengthening general practice, which is at the heart of our modern NHS.’