Posted by Bishop Fleming on March 26, 2018
Changes have been agreed to the General Medical Services GP contract for 2018/19 with effect from 1 April 2018. These changes apply in England only.
Steven Boxwell in our Plymouth office covers the changes.
Although the changes listed below are not comprehensive, they are a selection of the key items to look out for.
The contract for 2018/19 will see an overall increase in funding of 3.4%, or £256m, which will provide a 1% pay increase and a 3% uplift to cover an inflationary rise in practice expenses. This uplift may rise further (backdated to April) once the Government has responded to any recommendations from the Doctors and Dentists Review Body.
Other funding changes include:
Practices that do not have at least 10% of their population registered for online services will be ‘contractually obliged’ to work with NHS England to achieve greater use of these services.
From 1 October 2018, GP practices will have to use the NHS e-Referral System for all referrals to first consultant-led outpatient appointments. Guidance on this will be published, but practices will not be penalised if e-RS is not fully implemented in their area.
Also, from October 2018, phase 4 of the electronic prescription service (EPS) will be implemented. A patient awareness campaign, including resources to help practices address patients’ concerns, will be undertaken.
Other key changes
Looking to the future, there will be discussions taking place about introducing an unweighted element of the funding formula to reflect practice costs that are not linked to the features of their practice population.
The GPC says it is currently engaged in a ‘wholesale review of the QOF’, a review into how to reinvigorate the partnership model and further workforce initiatives.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please contact a member of our specialist Doctors team.