GPs exposed by local enhanced service funding rise

A rise in the proportion of GP funding delivered through locally-agreed deals leaves the profession exposed as the NHS enters a period of financial austerity, GP leaders admit.

GPC negotiator Dr McCarron-Nash: I would prefer a core funding rise so practices can get on with their basic job

Figures from the NHS Information Centre show that the proportion of GP funding that comes from nationally-agreed directed enhanced services (DESs) has dropped.

DESs delivered 52% of enhanced services funding in 2007/8. But this fell to 44% in 2008/9.

A forecast for 2009/10 predicts that DESs will again make up 44% of spending. Funding for all enhanced services is expected to rise by nearly 9% to £885m in 2009/10 having risen by 3.3% between 2007/8 and 2008/9 to £786m.

The breakdown also shows that just £19.4m was spent on the five clinical DESs agreed as part of the 2008/9 GMS contract deal, despite a guarantee they would be worth ‘£50m annually'. A further £30m is forecast to be spent on the clinical DESs in 2009/10.

The rise in spending through APMS practices is forecast to rise to £20.7m in 2009/10 from just £11m in 2007/8.

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash told GP newspaper that DES spending had fallen partly because many PCTs had agreed with GPs not to implement the extended hours DES.

‘I think most money should be in the global sum,' Dr McCarron-Nash said. ‘I would prefer a core funding rise so practices can get on with their basic job. Enhanced service money is always going to be more vulnerable.'

Watch our video interview of Dr McCarron-Nash on the representation of sessional GPs

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