This letter from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt sets out proposed changes to the GP contract. A consultation on the changes was launched after a negotiated settlement could not be agreed following a series of discussions between the British Medical Association and NHS Employers.
The British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee and other primary care organisations now have until 26 February 2013 to respond to the government’s proposals.
Main new changes proposed in the consultation letter
- the minimum practice income guarantee will be phased out over seven years as part of the contract
- any overall increase in the value of GP contract payments, which will be decided following recommendations from the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body in February, will be distributed in a way that gives some increase to all GP practices but is targeted towards those with less current funding per patient
- all NICE recommendations for new and improved indicators to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) will be implemented in full
- QOF reward thresholds will be increased so that more patients benefit from the best evidenced care that can help to save lives
- organisational QOF payments will be discontinued releasing £164m which will be used to help fund improvements in patient care through the implementation of all the NICE recommended changes and the commissioning of extra services from GP practices
The extra services to be commissioned from GP practices will cover:
- improving the assessment of people with dementia
- improving care management for frail older people and other high risk patients at risk of unplanned hospital admissions
- using technology to help monitor the health of people with long term conditions and improving online access to services
- this means GPs will be delivering more to retain the money they were getting under the old organisational indicators - the NHS Commissioning Board will develop more detailed specifications for these new schemes
The Department of Health is proposing investment of up to £10 million annually (depending on take up) to GP practices for 2 new vaccination programmes for rotavirus and shingles.