GP out-of-hours funding down every year since coalition took office

Funding for out-of-hours GP services has fallen in real terms in every year since the coalition government took office, official data show.

Parliament: response to question revealed drop in GP out-of-hours funding (Robin Hammond)
Parliament: response to question revealed drop in GP out-of-hours funding (Robin Hammond)

The total amount spent on GP out-of-hours services in 2013/14 was £399.4m, down more than £20m in real terms since the 2010 election, according to a response from health minister Dr Daniel Poulter to a parliamentary question.

The figures come after the RCGP published a report on Tuesday warning that GP practices had been priced out of the out-of-hours services market.

Spending on out-of-hours GP services totalled £419.5m in real terms in 2010/11, the first financial year under the coalition government.

Real terms GP funding drop

In 2009/10, the final year under the last Labour administration, total real terms spending totalled £438.4m.

Apart from a one-year dip in 2007/8 when funding dropped to £386.8m in real terms, the minister’s response shows that out-of-hours funding in 2013/14 was lower in real terms than at any point since 2005/6.

In 2005/6 total spending rose to £458m in real terms following the introduction of the new GMS contract a year earlier.

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