Press release

Proposed changes to GP contract to focus on better care for people with long-term conditions

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Government is calling for better care for people with long-term conditions under its proposed changes to the GP contract.

These proposals have been sent to the British Medical Association (BMA) for consideration and include:

  • New measures to improve care for patients with long-term conditions and help prevent unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital.
  • Ensuring that quality rewards for GPs reflect expert advice, from NICE, so that patients receive the very best care in line with the most up-to-date evidence.
  • Stopping additional rewards for organisational tasks like good record-keeping, which should be part of any good health organisation. This money will instead go into rewarding the quality of services that GPs offer patients.
  • Ensuring that more patients benefit from best practice in areas such as keeping blood pressure low and reducing cholesterol levels, especially those in most need or hardest to reach.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

“Putting patients first is our priority and I make no apology for this.

“The GP contract needs to change so that it further improves care for patients.

“Our population is living longer and an increasing number of people have long term conditions. By 2018 those with one or more long term condition is set to rise to 2.9 million. Our proposals will help ensure that we provide the very best care and support possible for those at most risk of life threatening conditions. We want to drive up standards for all and want the contract to reflect the most up-to-date expert guidance and excellent standards of care.

“We want the BMA to work with us on making this happen, but will not back away from making changes that will deliver better care for patients.”

Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“Achieving continuous improvements in clinical quality must be a dynamic process and the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is a driver for this. I support the need to regularly review indicators and their thresholds so that they reward improvements in patient care by incentivising the achievement of the highest standards.

“It seems reasonable to me to agree to retire those indicators that are nowadays considered to be standard practice. However, to achieve the desired outcomes it is important to recognise the impact on workload any changes may bring. I am pleased to see that consideration is being given to looking at reducing the demands from some of the lower priority indicators.”

NHS Employers who represent the Department of Health meet with the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee to agree changes to the GP contract every year. The Government will continue to invite discussion with the BMA with the hope of reaching an agreement.

 Notes to editors:

  •  If the Government are unable to reach agreement with the BMA it will move to a period of formal consultation.
  • The proposals put to the BMA include possible new quality improvement schemes for diagnosis and care of people with dementia, care for the most frail or seriously ill patients, patient access to online services, and support to help people with long term conditions better monitor their own health.
  • For media enquiries only please contact the Department of Health on 020 7210 5477.