Investment guarantee is axed after overpayment

The mechanism guaranteeing primary care funding in the UK has been scrapped after the DoH under-estimated the quality of GP performance.

The gross investment guarantee (GIG), which ensured resources promised in the new GMS contract were delivered, operated between 2003/4 and 2005/6.

Investment in general practice in England for the first three years of the new GMS contract was £1.7 billion more than the DoH promised, according to figures.

A report published by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care revealed that over the first three years of the GMS contract, the government invested £20.5 billion in primary care in England alone.

This exceeded the GIG by £1.7 billion (9.2 per cent).

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, said: 'These figures reflect the government's wish to invest in general practice by introducing performance-related pay for GPs, linking practice resources to the quality of service provided for patients.

'Family doctors rose to the challenge of performance-related pay and delivered higher quality care than the government anticipated. This is why the GIG was exceeded.'

There was a £41 million (3.7 per cent) overspend in Wales, and in Northern Ireland, ú0.5 billion was invested, exceeding the GIG by £68 million (14.2 per cent).

In Scotland, £1.8 billion was invested over the same period but there was no GIG to compare it against. Overall in the UK there was a £24 billion investment over the period.

GMS negotiator for NHS Employers Phillip Grant said that the data would be used in discussions about the future of the GMS contract.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: 'Extra investment has improved both the range and quality of services provided to patients by their GPs.

'Almost all patients are now seen within 48 hours compared to just half 10 years ago.

'We remain committed to ensuring that this investment in general practice is matched by further improvements in services for patients.'

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