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Global sum increase is a ‘step in the right direction’, say medical accountants

The 92p per patient increase that GPs will receive as part of the 2019/20 global sum is ‘not particularly exciting’ but does come alongside other major changes which should benefit GPs, medical accountants have said.

The financial experts said although 92p does not sound like a big deal, the increase should be seen in the context of the changes to indemnity and the addition of the £1.76 per patient for joining a network.

The new five-year GP contract was announced earlier this month, and included changes such as a 1.4% funding uplift for general practice and a state-backed indemnity deal covering all practice staff.

But now NHS England has revealed GPs will get £89.88 per patient through the 2019/20 global sum, an increase on £88.96 in 2018/19.

Speaking to Pulse, medical accountants said the increase – alongside the other changes – mean GPs will see a 3% overall funding boost.

Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA) chair Bob Senior said: ‘92p, 1.03%, in isolation is not particularly exciting, but there are factors to weigh into this.

‘They are covering some of the professional indemnity costs – although the challenge is we don’t know how much is really going to covered and how much GPs are still going to need to pay.’

He continued: ‘The other thing which I’m not fully clear on is the £1.76 network participation fee. If this is simply a payment for setting up, then you’re looking at 3.01% overall. Which is probably not too bad, it’s not brilliant, but on top of some of the indemnity costs being paid, it’s better than inflation, so it’s a modest step in the right direction, but it’s not a massive incentive to young doctors.’

Mr Senior added that until all the details of the network participation payment are revealed, he will ‘reserve further judgement’.

AISMA board member and Hall Liddy director Andrew Pow said: ‘Whilst 92p doesn’t sound a big figure this needs to be seen in the context of the major change in indemnity.

‘From April 2019 GP practices should see a reduction in the indemnity costs they pay as GP partners and also for their staff as well. So whilst the income rise is not high there should be a good reduction in expenses leaving them with additional resource going forward.

‘There will always be some practices which are better off and some worse off. There remains a commitment to reduce MPIG and PMS premiums and so practices which relied on higher MPIG funding will not be as well off as those not in receipt of MPIG.’

The new global sum payment increase includes:

Practices will also be expected to give staff a 2% pay rise, the BMA and NHS England have said.

Prior to the release of the global sum figure, medical accountants cautiously welcomed the new five-year GP contract, calling it largely ‘positive’ and saying it could leave GPs ‘better off’.