Government to increase GP funding by 1.16% in 2015/16

Ministers have announced a 1.16% overall rise in GP contract payments for 2015/16, claiming this would deliver the 1% pay rise for GPs recommended by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB).

Funding: DDRB report reveals GP pay award (Photo: JH Lancy)
Funding: DDRB report reveals GP pay award (Photo: JH Lancy)

GP partners' income has fallen rapidly since the QOF was introduced in 2005/6, with official data revealing a near 25% drop in the seven following years. The below-inflation rise looks set to prolong this trend.

The GPC had asked for a net rise of above 1%, taking account of expenses.

NHS England had called on the DDRB to consider GP pay in light of the government’s policy to cap public sector pay rises at 1%.

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Announcing the pay award, health minister Lord Howe said: 'Our strong economy means we have been able to accept the recommendation for a 1% increase to GPs' pay, broadly in line with other healthcare workers.

'GPs do a vital job and are at the centre of our plans as we move more care out of hospital closer to people's homes. Once expenses of running their businesses are taken into account, GPs will receive a 1.16 per cent increase to their contract.'

The minimum and maximum of the salary range for salaried GPs will rise by 1%.

In 2014 ministers accepted DDRB advice and increased overall funding for practices by just 0.28%, which it said would give GPs a below-inflation pay rise of 1%.

GP leaders called that decision a ‘kick in the teeth' that would fail to deliver the 1% rise.

Accountants and GPs said practices’ success in reducing costs to cope with reduced funding had prompted the DDRB to recommend a below-inflation uplift.

In previous years ministers have ignored DDRB advice to uplift doctors’ pay.

In 2013 the DDRB recommended a 2.29% overall uplift to GMS funding, but health secretary Jeremy Hunt slashed that to 1.32%.

Falling GP pay

Official figures released last year for 2012/13 showed a seventh consecutive year of falling pay for UK GMS and PMS GPs, with an average 0.9% fall before tax after expenses.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre in 2014 showed practices spent 62.5% of their income on practice expenses, up from 56.5% in 2004/5.

Increases in average total expenses costs for UK GPs varied between 1.6% between 2010/11 and 2011/12, and 5.1% between 2007/8 and 2008/9.

NHS England said G/PMS GPs spent 64% of gross earnings expenses in 2012/3

Poll: Do you welcome the 1.16% funding increase for GPs in 2015/16?

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