GP funding rising but still just 8.1% of NHS spend, official data show

GP funding in England increased by 4.7% in 2015/16, higher than any other part of the UK, new data reveal.

GP leaders said the increase was not enough as the data confirmed general practice funding was just 8.1% of total NHS spending, down from 10% in 2004/05.

The figures from NHS Digital showed total funding in England, including drugs reimbursement, went up from £9.03bn in 2014/15 to £9.45bn last year.

The second highest increase was in Northern Ireland, which saw total funding rise by 4.52% to £267m. Wales saw total GP funding rise 2.15%to £488m and Scotland 1.53% to £822m.

GP funding

Overall, total GP funding for the UK as a whole was up 4.36% to £11.03bn. Excluding drugs reimbursement, UK funding rose 4.67%.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures showed general practice had ‘suffered from a decade of underinvestment with the proportion of funding GP services receive dropping as a proportion of the NHS budget from 10% in 2004/05 to 8.1% today’.

‘This is despite an unprecedented surge in pressure on GP practices,' Dr Nagpaul said, ‘with rocketing demand, especially from an older population with complex needs, widespread staff shortages and more care being moved from secondary care into the community. In this worsening climate, many practices are facing a disastrous financial future, with more than 300 GP practices in England recently telling the BMA they are potentially facing closure.

‘There are signs that the proportion of funding is beginning in a small scale to increase, however this does not match the relentless expansion in workload and activity in GP surgeries which has left many without the necessary resources to sustain an effective service to patients. Much of the funding increase recorded in this report derive from one off payments from the PM Challenge Fund and other pilots.’

GP workforce

‘What is really needed is for the government to implement immediately its promised injection of extra resources and a proper recruitment drive in general practice so that we can ensure GP services are able to deliver the care the public deserves.’

The reversion by PMS practices to GMS was reflected in investment figures in England where GMS global sum and MPIG total funding increased by 17.4% last year while PMS expenditure fell by 15.3%.

Total payments for additional services in England went up 2% while QOF funding rose 3.1%.

Funding for the GP Access Fund rose from £48m in 2013/14 to £105m last year.

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