GPC admits contract change could close hundreds of practices

Changes to the prevalence formula have left hundreds of practices facing closure, and the system for distributing GMS core pay from 2009/10 needs to be renegotiated, the GPC has admitted.

Laurence Buckman (photograph: JH Lancy)
Laurence Buckman (photograph: JH Lancy)

The committee is hoping to change the core funding formula agreed last October where funding is distributed via a complex formula that cuts practices' reliance on correction factors, due to be implemented in April. The earliest this could change is 2010/11.

As part of this process, NHS Employers and the GPC are gathering evidence about why practices need correction factor payments, using a survey sent out this week.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman has also warned that hundreds of practices could close if PCTs do not arrange support packages for practices due to lose out when the prevalence formula changes in April too.

Dr Buckman said many PCTs have not even attempted to support practices due to lose out heavily from changes to the prevalence formula, adding to practices' woes.

From April 2009, the square root component will be removed and, from 2010, the value of quality points will be weighted according to true prevalence, leaving some practices in areas of low prevalence with six-figure losses.

Tens, possibly hundreds of practices, especially in London, may have to fold if alternative funding arrangements were not agreed by April, he said.

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