General practice will see a falling proportion of the NHS budget in England, as other sectors benefit from the boost in funding announced in last year’s Budget.
NHS board papers reveal that the proportion of centrally allocated funding for general practice will total 7.1% of the total NHS budget in 2018/19, although this does not include any funding allocated locally by CCGs. The proportion in 2016/17 was 7.2% and in 2015/16 it was 7.3%.
The general practice budget allocation from NHS England will increase by 4% from April, as promised, but this rise is offset by a 36% rise in budget to the ‘sustainability fund’ for trusts and a 7% increase in funding for specialised services.
This is despite Chancellor Philip Hammond pledging £6.3bn in new funding for the NHS by the end of this Parliament, including £2.8bn for the day-to-day running of the service over the next three years, and both the BMA and the RCGP campaigning for GPs to get a larger slice of the NHS funding pie over the past few years.
The board paper says: ‘The planned 2018/19 allocation for general practice has been maintained to enable the expected cost uplifts in the 2018/19 GP contract to be funded, as well as the funding commitments set out in the General Practice Forward View on extended access and investment in estates and technology.
‘Local general practice allocations are unchanged from those previously published for 2018/19, and no changes to the funding formula have been implemented.’
The BMA released figures last year based on NHS Digital data – which show a more complete picture of practice finances – showing that general practice is receiving £2bn less than it would have if spending levels had stayed at 2005/6 levels, with the Government now £3.7bn short of meeting its widely accepted target of spending 11% of the overall NHS budget on primary care.
Please note – this originally said £6.3m and £2.8m in the fourth paragraph. This was changed on 8 February 2018 to £6.3bn and £2.8bn