GP share of NHS funding will rise to 11% by 2020, RCGP says

GP funding in England will rise to the 11% share of the NHS budget GP leaders have campaigned for once local investments are factored in, according to analysis by the RCGP.

General practice will receive 11% of NHS funding by 2020/21 including central funding increases and local investments through sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) and other schemes, RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker has said.

The college chair confirmed the RCGP will attempt to block STPs that do not adequately support general practice.

Speaking at a King's fund event on Tuesday, Dr Baker said: ‘There is a commitment in the GP Forward View that central funding from NHS England for general practice will be at least 10%.

‘But there is also a commitment that in addition to the central funding, there will also be local funding, funding from local health economies.

‘Our calculations are that when that’s factored in, and if it is delivered, then that should take the share of NHS spending in general practice to 11%, which is what we've been campaigning for.’

This would restore general practice’s share of NHS funding to its highest ever level, last reached over a decade ago in 2004/05.

GP funding

Dr Baker said she was ‘quite convinced’ that funding would have continued to cascade and ‘spell the end of general practice’ without the GP Forward View.

It promised a minimum of £2.4bn extra recurrent funding a year for general practice, a 14% real terms increase over current funding levels.

The college's analysis follows an announcement from first minister Nicola Sturgeon that the Scottish government will invest 11% of NHS funding into general practice.

Dr Baker added that the RCGP will send NHS England and the DH a compilation of concerns its GP members have about specific STP proposals once they have been published, calling for them not to go ahead if they do not adequately invest in general practice.

STP proposals

It comes after primary care health minister David Mowat told the RCGP annual conference 2016 that STPs could be blocked if GPs oppose them.

Dr Baker said: ‘Once the STPs are published, we will be checking to say does this sound right to you, are you going to get the support you need, is the funding that’s committed going to be there?

‘And if it’s not, we will be straight back to NHS England and the minister saying this is what you said, this is what you committed, this is what we’re hearing – it needs to be addressed.’

She added that the RCGP ambassadors – members of the college appointed to ensure GPs are involved in regional STP discussions – had seen ‘quite striking variability’ among STPs to date.

Some plans ‘completely understand’ general practice and primary care – and how it fits into the wider healthcare system, she said.

But she added that other ambassadors have reported STP discussions as being like ‘knocking your head against the wall’.

NHS England confirmed that STPs will be submitted to national NHS bodies this Friday, and will be published locally from late this month to November.

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