​General Practice To Receive More Funding

A groundbreaking new 5-year deal has been agreed by the NHS and BMA that will aim to address the issues currently faced by GPs in terms of workloads and workforce. It is being hailed as a huge boost for general practice that will help fulfil the NHS Long Term Plan to provide better healthcare services for patients. The move will provide more funding for general practice than has been provided in the last 15 years, signalling some key developments ahead for the industry.

More funding for General Practice

An incredible £2.8bn ‘landmark deal’ has been agreed by the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee and NHS England that will provide additional funding to GPs and change the landscape of general practice, helping to address the pressures faced by both GPs and patients with existing healthcare systems.

The new agreement will provide a state-backed indemnity scheme for doctors, as well as hire a large number of non-medical staff to help deliver the healthcare services that will transform care for patients. Through this move, practices will be able to deliver more flexible appointments to patients such as video appointments, online bookings and an improved 111 service.

Will there be an immediate benefit?

£405m extra GP funding will be given to general practice for the upcoming financial year, which will allow increases for core pay to be delivered as part of a new ‘network contract’ that will sit alongside existing standard practice contracts. As part of this funding, practice staff will benefit from a 2% pay increase for the 2019/20 financial years.

The network funding is aimed at enhancing the services offered to patients. Through a directed enhanced service (DES), there will be funding for the recruitment of a clinical pharmacist and a social prescribing link worker. Future ambitions for the funding involves practice groups being able to employ around 20,000 additional staff such as paramedics, physios, physician associates and more.

The practice networks are expected to cover approximately 30,000 – 50,000 patients, and it’s expected that a GP will take on an area-based clinical director role.

One of the most significant elements of the funding plans is the state-backed indemnity that GPs will be able to benefit from. While details of how this will be implemented have yet to be revealed, it could mean that NHS GPs benefit from the same indemnity that doctors in hospitals receive and will no longer have to cover the costs personally.

The additional NHS funding will also be used to improve digital services, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. Some of these improvements will include GPs making 25% of appointments available online, as well as providing new patients who register with practice access to digital patient records.

A stronger focus on community-based healthcare

Through the improved funding, it’s hoped that patients will benefit from better community health-based services. It is hoped that this will provide more flexible access to GPs, as well as facilitating a more joined-up approach to GPs and community health services.

In addition to benefiting patients, the added funding may help relieve the growing workload and strain experienced by GPs, inspiring the next generation of doctors to consider the profession. For many GPs, the additional funding for primary care could be a big game-changer. However, if you’re feeling skeptical, you might want to consider an out of hours role instead. This change of direction often provides GPs with a much-needed change to practice hours and can be a way to experience a different side of healthcare. Find out what the current doctors who work for us have to say about this via our YouTube channel.