MPs call for incentives for GPs to target poor populations

The DoH must do more to incentivise GPs to work in the most deprived areas, according to the House of Commons public accounts committee (PAC).

Dr Vautrey: the 2004 GMS contract has made 'significant headway' in reducing health inequalities
Dr Vautrey: the 2004 GMS contract has made 'significant headway' in reducing health inequalities

In a report on deprivation and health inequalities, MPs said the DoH had ‘failed to address GP shortages in the most deprived areas’ and called for urgent action to address this.

The PAC has been examining why the DoH failed to meet a 2004 target to cut health inequalities by 10% by 2010.

It calls for the proposed NHS Commissioning Board to offer more incentives for GPs to target their most deprived patients with preventative measures.

‘The department and the commissioning board should use the GP contract to link payments explicitly to GPs’ success in improving the health of the neediest people in their practices,’ the report says.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the 2004 GMS contract had made 'significant headway' in reducing health inequalities, especially for long-term conditions. Improved, centralised workforce planning should be used to address any shortages of GPs in deprived areas, he said.

The committee also found that two thirds of PCTs in the most deprived areas ‘still do not receive the money due to them under the government’s funding formula’.

‘In developing the funding model for GP consortia and public health, the department and the commissioning board should consider how funding shortfalls in the most deprived areas could be corrected,’ the report says.

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