Exclusive: GP funding hit as CCGs denied £180m in quality payments

CCGs have missed out on more than £180m of funding that many had earmarked for primary care, official data reveal.

Funding: £180m lost to CCGs (Photo: JH Lancy)

Details of final 'quality premium' bonus payouts CCGs are about to receive based on their performance 2013/14 show CCGs have been awarded a total of just £86.3m from an available £269m.

The data, released by NHS England, are the first on quality premium payments because 2013/14 was the first financial year in which the organisations were operational.

Meanwhile, NHS England board papers reveal it has slashed the amount it expects to spend on quality premium payments in 2015/16 to reward performance in the current financial year by £90m, down from £200m to £110m.

Flawed scheme

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the figures proved the scheme was a bad idea and that the money should have gone into core CCG funding instead.

The 2013/14 payments are based on quality improvements in services commissioned by CCGs in four national priority areas: reducing potential years of life lost, reducing avoidable emergency admissions, roll-out of the friends and family test, and preventing healthcare associated infections, plus three local measures.

Each priority measure is worth a percentage of the CCG’s maximum award which is calculated at £5 per head of population.

CCGs received no award if they were in deficit at the close of the financial year, or if they are considered to have mismanaged funds.

Quality premium denied

A total of 28 CCGs, out of 215, received no quality premium, while 173 received 50% or less of their maximum. Three CCGs awarded the highest proportion of their maximum will receive 87.5%. They are North and West Reading, Greater Manchester and Greater Huddersfield.

CCGs must use the funding awarded to improve quality of care or health outcomes and to reduce health inequalities. Much of the awarded money is expected to go into primary care.

GP asked a number of CCGs about their plans for the funding. Birmingham Cross City, which was awarded £967,000 - 29% of its maximum possible award - said it intends to invest in primary care and has asked practices for funding proposals.

Birmingham South and Central CCG said it would spend all of its £539,000, 47% of the maximum, in primary care.

Primary care funding

Barnsley CCG said the funding would was included in planned income and it was investing heavily in primary care.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘We repeatedly said at the time that the introduction of the quality premium was a bad idea and, along with our many other concerns about the NHS re-organisation, we have been proved right again.

‘It was always unlikely that this money would be spent and instead it should have been put into core CCG funding to enable them to use it in-year for essential patient services that are under massive pressure rather than hope for jam tomorrow - which was clearly a forlorn hope.’

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