The total funding given to each individual practice has been published for the first time by the Government today, revealing that the average practice received funding worth £136 per registered patient in 2013/14.
But this amount conceals massive variation between practices and illustrates that annual funding for unlimited access to GP practices is less than an annual Sky TV subscription, which costs £238 per year.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre today revealed that 13% of the total funding came from QOF, while 8% came from premises payments and 8% came from enhanced services.
The publishing of individual practice funding was included in the 2014/15 contract at the behest of the Government in order to improve transparency.
The GPC, which has reluctantly agreed to the publication, has warned it will not be useful or informative to patients. Opponents have also argued that it is a breach of GPs’ privacy.
Proponents of the publication, agreed in principle under the 2014/15 GMS contract, have argued that publishing individual pay would be helpful for GPs to prove a decline in net income after pension contributions and medical indemnity cover.
Practices will be required to publish these figures on their website by April 2016 under the new GP contract deal.
But NHS England said that this was an ‘interim solution’ before NHS England pushes ahead with ‘publishing individual GP net earnings in 2016/17’.
The first publication of these figures revealed that APMS practices received £192.85 per patient, compared with £140.52 for PMS practices and £131.45 for GMS practices.
One APMS practice – the Accrington Victoria Health Access Centre in Lancashire – received £2,002 per patient.
It also shows huge variation between different areas, with practices in Greater Manchester receiving £110.60 per average weighted patient, compared with £166.05 in East Anglia.
However, according to the figures, some practices received as little as £25 over the year, calling into question the usefullness of the figures.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said: ‘These figures demonstrate that GP services are delivering comprehensive care for a whole year at a cost of £136 per person. This funds unlimited access to GP appointments – now more than 6 visits per year on average – as well as home visits and care for housebound vulnerable patients, immunisation programmes, cervical screening, chronic disease management and many other services.
‘However, GP services are finding it increasingly difficult to make this funding stretch to meet the demands that are now being placed on them. Many GP practices are struggling to cope with the growing needs of their aging populations on shrinking resources that is made worse by staff shortages and the wider transfer of more unresourced work from hospitals into the community. Politicians and NHS managers now need to focus their energy on ensuring overstretched and underfunded GP services get the resources they need to deliver enough appointments and services to their patients.’
On the regional differences, Dr Richard West, chair of the Dispensing Doctors’ Association, said: ‘It’s important to understand that the variation in weighted payments between urban and rural areas is because many rural practices are also receiving reimbursement for the costs of the drugs they are permitted to dispense to their patients. It is not because rural practices receive better funding to provide primary medical services.’
What £136 a year can’t get you
– A Sky subscription on the Original (cheapest) bundle: £17.20 per month = £206.40 per year.
– The rise in the price of a train season ticket from Guildford to London (not the ticket – just the rise in the cost of the ticket) = £144 this year.
– A 4G phone subscription with a free phone: cheapest one available with a free phone is £12.50 per month = £150 per year.
– A 51g Mars bar every day: 60p x 365 days = £219 per year.
– A subscription to the Observer every week = £150.80 per year.
An average bottle of wine every two weeks = £208.52 per year.
A trip to the cinema every fortnight = £169.78 per year.
A haircut every month = £179.40 per year.
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