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GP practices were paid an average of £155 per patient in 2019/20

GP practices in England received an average of £155 per patient this financial year, official data has shown.

In its annual report on NHS payments to general practice, published today, NHS Digital revealed that 7,001 practices in England were paid on average £155.46 per registered patient in 2019/20.

While GMS practices received on average £155.17 per registered patient, PMS practices were paid £154.63 and APMS practices – which made up just 2.5% of practices – received £172.80.

These figures represent average practice payments per registered patient rather than per weighted patient and are calculated using an average of quarterly counts of patient numbers at each practice.

The report said the figure ‘should not be compared’ with previous data sets ‘due to a change in methodology’ in 2018/19, however ‘revised’ amounts have been calculated.

Average payments per registered patient increased by just 65p (0.4%) compared with the last financial year and just £2.65 (1.7%) across three years from £152.81 in 2016/17.

The increase between 2018/19 and 2019/20 was the smallest year-on-year increase in the last three years.

NHS Digital added that the average payments per patient should also be ‘treated with caution as some patients may be double-counted – for example due to practice closure’.

The report also revealed that in 2019/20 practices were paid:

  • £3,783.6 million in global sum payments;
  • £715.8 million for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF);
  • £833.5 million in premises payments;
  • And £1,515.5 million for the ‘balance of PMS expenditure’. 

It added that the data does not reflect the ‘total invested in patient care through general practice’, but ‘the majority’ of actual payments made to practices for ‘all activities and costs’ during the financial year. 

Under the 2019/20 GP contract, NHS England committed to increasing ‘core’ funding in general practice by £109 million compared with the previous year – including a global sum uplift of 92p per patient.

It comes as last week it was revealed that GP practices earned fewer points on average under the QOF payment system last year, though achievement still remained high despite the pandemic.

It followed warnings that practices could have missed out on ‘thousands’ of pounds, despite an adjustment to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Pulse revealed this month that the Treasury has set aside an average of £3 per patient to reimburse GP practices for expenses incurred for three months during the pandemic.

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