Practice funding less than £170 per patient in 2020/21 - including PCN and COVID-19 payments

GP practices in England received just £169.92 per patient on average in 2020/21 - including contract funding, PCN payments, pandemic support and COVID-19 vaccination payments, official data show.

One pound coins on top of a five-pound note
GP funding (Photo: Stuart Gleave/Getty Images)

Practices received £159.61 per patient from standard GP contract actitivies in 2020/21 according to official data from NHS Digital - up 2.7% from £155.47 in the previous financial year.

PCN work brought in a further £4.74 per patient according to figures that include payments for network leadership roles, support, workforce through the additional roles reimbursement scheme, care home premium payments, extended access and investment and impact fund income.

COVID-19 support payments and pay for work on the vaccination campaign - which has seen around 75% of vaccines delivered by practice teams during the pandemic - totalled £5.58 per patient in 2020/21, the data show.

GP practice funding

Around 25m people in England had received at least one COVID-19 jab by the end of March 2021 - but payments were slow to come through to practices. GPonline reported in March that many practices had yet to receive a share of payments made in February for vaccination work.

NHS England said in February that it had made payments worth £70m to PCN vaccination sites. The data on payments to practices in the 2020/21 financial year show that COVID-19 related payments for the financial year as a whole - from April 2020 to March 2021 - totalled £338.6m.

In terms of overall funding, total NHS payments to general practice in 2020/21 came to just over £10.3bn - or around £9.7bn excluding PCN and COVID-19 payments.

QOF income for GP practices, protected during the pandemic, was virtually unchanged in 2020/21 compared with the previous financial year, totalling just over £720m. GP practices received £800.5m in premises payments in 2020/21 - down from £833.5 in 2019/20.

GP workload

The figures come as the latest data on GP appointments reveal that practice workload is continuing to surge as the UK heads into winter. Practices in England delivered around 34m appointments in October alone once COVID-19 appointments are factored in.

Around two thirds of appointments are now taking place face-to-face - and the proportion rises further still if COVID-19 related contacts with patients are taken into account.

GP practices are currently halfway through the five-year contract deal that began in 2019, with fixed increases in funding locked in for each year of the deal. GP leaders have called for a renegotiation to help practices deliver NHS staff pay increases worth in excess of the rises built into the five-year deal.

Note: this story has been updated to correct figures on COVID-19 payments to GP practices

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