Investment in general practice rises but enhanced services spending falls

Investment in general practice has risen marginally across the UK for the fifth year in a row, but spending on enhanced services in England has fallen, official data show.

Investment has risen across the UK for the fifth year in a row

Data from the NHS Information Centre show that investment in GMS, PMS, APMS and PCTMS practices across the UK increased by 0.59% from 2010/11 to 2011/12. But funding for local enhanced services has fallen in England.

The figures were revealed as separate NHS information centre data show that GPs' incomes have fallen for the fifth consecutive year, down £6,000 from their peak 2005/06.

In England, annual investment in general practice was £8,397m in 2011/12, compared with £8,349.4m in 2010/11 (an increase of 0.6%).

In Wales there was an increase of 0.6% in investment in general practice, with £466.3m invested in 2011/12 compared with £463.6m in 2010/11. In Northern Ireland annual investment rose 0.6% by £236.2m in 2011/12, compared with £234.7m in 2010/11.

In Scotland investment in general practice was £747.9m in 2011/12, compared with £741.6m spent in 2010/11 (an increase of 0.9%).

Despite an overall increase in investment, spending on local and national enhanced services has fallen in England. Local enhanced service spending in England fell from £277.6m in 2010/11 to £269.6m in 2011/12.

In 2010/11 £62.2m was spent on national enhanced services compared to £56.2m in 2011/12. However spending on direct enhanced services has risen from £325.9m to £366.8m

In Wales and Northern Ireland funding for local and national enhanced services rose from 2010/11 to 2011/12.

In Scotland, practices saw a small rise in spending on local enhanced services between 2010/11 to 2011/12, but a small drop in spending on national and direct enhanced services.

Russell Finn of medical accountants Ramsay Brown & Partners said any drop in funding for enhanced services 'would correlate to a direct reduction in GPs' overall income'.

Mr Finn said that practices were likely to be hit hard financially this year as there had been no increase in PMS and GMS funding and QOF funding had only increased ‘marginally’.

‘GPs are then going to be hit by a double whammy as their superannuation and taxes are going up,’ he warned.

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