GP contract for 2018/19 to deliver £256m funding rise in England

Overall investment in general practice in England will rise £256.3m in 2018/19 under a contract deal expected to deliver an initial 1% pay rise for GPs.

The deal, which takes effect from 1 April, will deliver a 3.4% increase in overall investment in general practice in England, according to the DHSC.

The BMA says the deal will deliver a 1% increase in pay for GPs, although the union insists it expects the government to increase this figure in line with advice from the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB), once the advisory body delivers its delayed report on doctors' pay.

Evidence submitted to the DDRB by the BMA earlier this year called for a 2% pay increase on top of the retail prices index measure of inflation, which is currently running at 4%.

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Alongside a £60m fund to help cover rising indemnity costs, the increased investment is intended to help complete the rollout of the electronic prescription service, inject £10m into the electronic referral system so that all GP practices can access it from October, and widen a pilot that allows NHS111 to book appointments directly with practices.

The deal also includes measures intended to protect GPs from violent patients and a commitment to begin a 'major review' of premises that could begin this summer.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'I am pleased we have reached agreement with NHS England on changes to the contract this year, which includes some important improvements in areas such as pay and expenses, indemnity and premises.

'While this agreement alone will not resolve many of the issues facing general practice today, it builds on our progress from the last two years and provides stability to practices at a time when there is little else stable for our profession.

GP pay

'For too long, GP pay has been in decline, despite working harder than ever to deliver more appointments in an increasingly under-pressure NHS.'

Dr Vautrey said that 'from the outset of these negotiations we have been resolute that we would not accept a 1% uplift for pay and expenses'.

'After a decade of pay cuts, it is time GPs and their staff received a proper pay increase. We have therefore provided strong evidence to the DDRB that doctors should be given an uplift of RPI + 2%, to bring us in line with the wider economy and we expect the government to fund any DDRB recommendation.'

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: 'The 2018/19 contract is a further concrete step in investing in and strengthening general practice, which is at the heart of our modern NHS.'

NHS England director of primary care Dr Arvind Madan said: 'This new contract is positive news for patients and GPs, especially the focus on digital solutions. This will help GPs focus their time and resources on the areas that matter most to their patients.'

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