Pledged £105m at risk in correction factor row

GPC legal challenge over DDRB recommendations may jeopardise 1.5 per cent increased investment in primary care.

Richard Vautrey
Richard Vautrey

An extra £105 million in enhanced service and access funding promised by the DoH could be lost if the GPC wins its legal challenge against correction factor cuts.

Earlier this month, the DoH announced that the cash would fund five new clinical directed enhanced services (DESs) and increased access to GP practices in England.

The funding represents the balance of 1.5 per cent increase in investment in primary care pledged by the government during GMS contract negotiations in December.

However, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that this money could be in jeopardy as the GPC fights against the recent pay recommendations made by the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB).

Talks have been frozen while the DoH considers its response to the GPC's legal challenge over the cut to MPIG correction factors.

The cuts to the fund mean most practices will receive no increase in funding this year, despite a 2.7 per cent uplift to the global sum.

'Until that is decided, any talks on the pay rise will be suspended,' said Dr Buckman.

'At the moment nothing will happen. The secretary of state did announce the clinical DESs, but they are highly dependant on the result of the legal challenge. The DoH could drop the clinical DESs.'

Dr Buckman said the GPC is confident it has a good case.

The DoH would not confirm or deny if the £105 million per cent increase in primary care funding would still stand if the GPC wins a 2.7 per cent uplift for GMS practices.

A DoH spokeswoman said that as well as £50 million for the clinical DESs, a further £50 million is likely to cover a payment to practices improving or offering more services at evenings and weekends.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the money would probably fund nurse time or additional GP time during extended hours.

'It would make it more unmanageable as even more GPs would have to change their working arrangements, and skew the balance between in and out of hours,' he said.

'A better use of money would be to invest properly in the global sum.'

Dr Vautrey warned that all the extra investment and clinical DESs could be dropped if the GPC is successful in its legal fight to overturn the DDRB's recommendations.

'Unless the DoH could secure additional money, they may look to recoup funds elsewhere, or alter the recommendations of the DDRB,' he said.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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