Practices will see global sum funding rise by 4% in 2020/21 – equivalent to £93.46 per head – under the new GP contract, but seniority and MPIG payments will finally come to an end.
Under the updated deal negotiated between the BMA and NHS England, the overall global sum for the coming year will be £164.5 million.
This is in line with the proposals agreed in the five-year contract deal, drawn up in 2019, according to the BMA and NHS England.
However, accountants have warned the additional global sum funding will be at the expense of seniority and MPIG payments – due to be stopped altogether from April, after being phased out in recent years.
Speaking on behalf of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, accountant Andrew Pow, said: ‘Many practices are now beginning to feel the impact of the increases in the minimum wage flowing through all staff levels.
‘A rise in the global sum to £93.46 – an increase of £3.58 on the face of it – looks positive. However, practices will have lost all MPIG and seniority funding from April 2020 and have staff pay increases and new employment conditions to absorb. In many cases this may deliver a profit reduction year-on-year.’
Family Doctor Association chairman and trustee Dr Peter Swinyard echoed concerns around the cost of paying practice staff the living wage.
He said: ‘The national living wage is going to be really difficult for practices who employ receptionist on the basic minimum wage. It’s going to be an enormous rise in staff expenditure this year and I think practices who have lost staff are really going to struggle with it.’
Paul Samrah, partner at accountancy firm Moore Kingston Smith, added: ‘On the face of it [this core funding increase] is good news but with the costs which practices incur, mainly staff and pay rises, that 4% is going to be doubled up very quickly.
‘It isn’t a huge sum given pressures such as pension costs, premises costs, indemnity costs and insurances. Other costs combined will certainly mop up the 4%. Every practice is different but it means they will have to be really efficient.’
Dr Kaye Ward is a GP at Cumbria-based Central Lakes Medical Group, which took over nearby Hawkshead Medical Practice in 2016 after the practice was threatened with closure due to MPIG funding being lost.
She said while more funding for networks and the core contract was welcome, practices reliant on MPIG funding would still be worse off.
Dr Ward said: ‘The changes to PCN funding are to be welcomed and will ease many of the concerns we have had locally around committing resources. However contract funding remains a concern.
‘Our practice has a recognised atypical population and has been heavily reliant on MPIG funding, which now has gone, together with seniority funding.’
She added: ‘Global sum increases are matched by income being withdrawn. As with most practices we have staff cost pressures but we’re also seeing NHS Property Services cost increases not being matched by premises funding. So whilst the new PCN resource is good at core practice level we’re worse off.’