GP funding per patient rose less than 1% in 2018/19

GP funding per patient in England rose to £154.81 in 2018/19 - up just 0.7% from the previous financial year, official data show.

GP funding (Photo: Tim Grist Photography/Getty Images)
GP funding (Photo: Tim Grist Photography/Getty Images)

The 2018/19 increase was similar to the uplift seen in 2017/18, when average funding grew to £153.77 from £152.81 in 2016/17.

The 2018/19 rise fell well short of inflation, with the consumer prices index (CPI) measure running at 2.3% on average through the 2018/19 financial year.

Data published by NHS Digital reveal that a total of £9.26bn was paid out to 7,279 GP practices in 2018/19 - up from the £9.1bn total the previous year.

Global sum

Around £5.26bn was delivered through practices global sum and correction factor payments for those under GMS contracts, or through PMS core funding.

QOF payments to GP practices in 2018/19 totalled £704.6m - down from £716m the previous year as funding moved out of the quality framework into core pay.

Directed enhanced services and local enhanced services - now referred to as 'local incentive schemes' - accounted for £866.7m of funding paid to GP practices in 2018/19.

GP practices on APMS contracts continue to receive more funding per patient than their GMS or PMS counterparts, with average funding per patients across these practices at £187.47 - although only 181 practices are on APMS deals.

GP contract

GMS practices received on average £153.15 per registered patient, while PMS practices received £155.01, the figures show.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'For too long investment has not kept up with the demands being placed on general practice, and the marginal increase in the year up to April this year – itself far smaller than in previous years – is completely inadequate.

'Over the same time period the number of patients registered at practices in England went up by more than 700,000 and we lost more than 440 full-time equivalent GPs – meaning doctors and their teams are being stretched to their limits.'

He added: 'Practices receive just under £155 a year on average per patient to provide virtually unlimited care. Not only is this astonishing value for money for the government, but it also demonstrates how hard GPs are working to care for patients in their area, many of whom will have a series of complex conditions, with inadequate investment in return.

'Earlier this year, the government – as part of the NHS long-term plan – promised that investment in primary care will grow faster than the overall NHS budget, and it is vital that this is realised if it is to make a difference to services, staff and patients.'

Funding is likely to rise more sharply from 2019/20 onwards as the impact of investment through the five-year GP contract begins to take effect.

*Note: this story was corrected to reflect a change in methodology by NHS Digital that means figures cannot be compared to previous years. The story previously said funding increased by 1.8% in 2018/19.

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