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GPs to get incentives to improve access in deprived areas

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition revealed it will renegotiate the GP contract to create incentives to improve primary care access in deprived areas.

The first detailed plans from the coalition, The Coalition: Our plan for Government, combine key elements of Tory and Lib Dem health policy and are set to radically alter the landscape of general practice.

One of its key pledges is to ‘renegotiate the GP contract and incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged areas’.

The move combines the Tories’ pledge to re-write the GMS contract to give GPs more commissioning responsibility for areas such as out-of-hours, with the Lib Dem’s wish for a new postcode-based funding system to pay GPs more for working in practices treating patients from the most deprived areas.

The document also confirms plans to remove GP practice boundaries, abandon ‘centrally dictated closure’ of A&E and maternity wards, and ‘significantly cut the number of health quangos’.

It also outlines plans to introduce a 24/7 urgent care service in every area of England, to set up an independent NHS board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines, and to ‘reform NICE and move to a system of value-based pricing’.

The introduction to the document – from prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg – says the plans are a ‘combination of our parties’ best ideas’.

‘In the NHS, take Conservative thinking on markets, choice and competition and add it to the Liberal Democrat belief in advancing democracy at a much more local level, and you have a united vision for the NHS that is truly radical: GPs with authority of commissioning; patients with much more control; elections for your local health board.’

Read the reaction to the new government’s announcement here

Click here to read a detailed analysis of how the Tory-Lib Dem coalition will affect general practice . Health policy and the new government: an analysis