New GP contract sets out five-year framework
The new framework lays out some of the biggest general practice contract changes in over a decade, securing extra investment in order to reduce the current pressures on general practice. One of the key commitments of the contract is to increase core general practice funding by £978 million per year by 2023/24.
A Primary Care Network contract will be introduced as a Directed Enhanced Service (DES), supported by a centrally-funded Primary Care Network Development Programme. By 2023/24, the Primary Care Network contract is expected to invest a total of £1.799 billion, which will help fund around 20,000 more primary care health professionals including clinical pharmacists, physician associates, first-contact physiotherapists, community paramedics and social prescribing link workers. These larger teams of health professionals will work across Primary Care Network to provide tailored care for patients and allow GPs to focus on treating patients with more complex needs.
A new shared savings scheme for Primary Care Networks is also planned, so GPs benefit from the work they do to reduce avoidable hospital admissions, outpatient visits and overmedication. A new state-funded indemnity scheme will begin from April 2019 for GPs and all general practice staff delivering primary medical services, including out-of-hours staff, which will help to address the spiralling cost of purchasing professional indemnity cover.
Additional funding of IT services will allow all patients the right to digital-first primary care, including web and video consultations, by April 2021, electronic repeat prescriptions by April 2019 and digital access to their medical records by 2020.
Improvements are planned to the Quality and Outcomes Framework to bring in more clinically appropriate indicators for conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure control and cervical screening, and to introduce quality improvement modules for prescribing safety and end-of-life care.
Extra funding will also be put in place to ensure greater extended-hours provision across Primary Care Networks and longer appointments for patients who need them, and from this April GP practices will start to take same-day bookings direct from NHS 111 when clinically appropriate.
The full document, Investment and Evolution: A Five-year Framework for GP Contract Reform to Implement the NHS Long Term Plan, is available to download from the NHS England website.