Meagre 1.16% GP funding rise will not cover expenses, warns GPC

The 1.16% increase in overall GP funding announced by the government for 2015/16 will not cover practice expenses and 'goes no way' to addressing issues at the heart of the wider GP crisis, the GPC has warned.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: award will not address GP crisis (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: award will not address GP crisis (Photo: Pete Hill)

Ministers announced the uplift to GP funding on Thursday after accepting advice from the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) that the profession should receive a 1% pay rise.

The DDRB did not offer advice on how much overall practice funding would need to increase to deliver a 1% pay rise for GPs, after admitting flaws in the methodology it has used to suggest uplifts in previous years.

Last year, the flawed formula led to a recommendation that GP funding should rise by just 0.28%, a decision the GPC dismissed as a 'kick in the teeth' for the profession.

Flawed GP pay advice

In the absence of a recommendation on the overall uplift needed, the government used the same discredited formula to come up with the 1.16% uplift for 2015/16.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'Following several years of effective pay cuts, including last year’s disastrous decision to award GPs an increase of just 0.28%, there is, at least, an acknowledgment of the expanding role played by GPs and the increased workload facing the profession has been recognised. However, it will not reverse the impact of successive years of under-resourcing and pay cut.

'However, at a time when GPs have delivered substantial efficiency savings to the NHS in addition to actual cuts in their take home pay, it is unlikely that the uplift of 1.16% will cover the unavoidable expenses that practices face or make up for years in under-funding.'

Dr Nagpaul said it was not clear why the DH had used a formula to calculate an uplift for GP funding when it had agreed with DDRB statements that the mechanism was 'not fit for purpose'.

'Today’s announcement also goes no way towards fixing the wider issues facing GPs such as how they cope with rising patient demand, staff shortages and inadequate premises,' Dr Nagpaul said.

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