Editorial - GPs face another year of working more for less

The changes to the GMS contract in 2012/13 will see GPs working harder than ever for less money. With practice expenses rising at a much greater rate than the 0.5 per cent funding increase, the deal effectively means a real terms pay cut.

Thresholds for many QOF indicators are rising so practices face more work to maintain achievement levels. They will also be expected to deliver on a number of retired QOF indicators (including those relating to prescribing efficiency) for no extra pay.

Because the uplift is being delivered as an increase in the value of QOF points, rather than through core pay, this means that very few practices will be lifted off MPIG next year. Almost a decade on from the original new GMS deal, the majority of practices are still not funded via the Carr-Hill formula that was supposed to make practice payment fairer.

As a result, more GMS practices may be forced to negotiate local deals, such as those in Derbyshire and Liverpool, to help correct historical funding inequalities.

The changes also mean that GPs already overburdened with paperwork have yet more layers of bureaucracy to contend with.

There is concern that the quality and productivity (QP) indicators for reducing A&E attendance could lead to practices being involved in a 'paper chase' with hospitals. And, while most GPs will be pleased that the government has backtracked from complete abolition of practice boundaries (for the time being at least), the plans for practices in England to negotiate an 'outer boundary' to enable greater patient choice will be another administrative headache for GPs.

In the current financial climate it may well be that this is the best deal the profession could hope to receive. But this won't change the fact that most GPs will be heartily sick of being asked to do more for less yet again and the prospect of another year of stagnant income. This will surely have a negative impact on GP morale and, for practices at the lower end of the funding scale, it could even affect their financial viability.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published


NICE moves CVD advice closer to QOF and updates treatment escalation options

NICE draft guidance on cardiovascular disease backs a new target for lipid levels...

GP surgery sign

GP alert system shows practices under major pressure

General practice has moved up to an 'OPEL 3' pressure rating nationally with two...

Podcast: How making your practice a better place to work can improve patient care

Sheffield GP Dr Ben Allen explains how focusing on staff and improving his practice's...

X-ray sign

Spike in TB cases prompts public health warning

Cases of TB in England have risen by 7% compared with last year, prompting a warning...

COVID-19 vaccine

GPs demand investigation as winter vaccine 'mismanagement' risks patient safety

GP leaders in England have demanded an investigation into 'mismanagement' of this...

Medical centre sign

GP 'engineering' fears as small practice contracts offered on branch-only basis

GP leaders have raised concerns over the 'engineering' of general practice after...