In what was described as ‘a new deal for general practice’ by RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker, Mr Stevens also said a new £400m would be made available in England to CCGs to deal with winter pressures and urged GPs to lobby CCGs for a share.
Immediately before Mr Stevens took to the stage, delegates at the RCGP’s annual conference in Liverpool on Friday had voted overwhelmingly that ‘general practice does not have sufficient resources to provide safe patient care in the event of a major health emergency this winter’.
Mr Stevens was only scheduled to speak for 15 minutes but ended up doing so for over half an hour and then answering another 30 minutes of GPs’ questions.
He said he had argued GPs’ case and described the £10 per patient per year cost of GP and out-of-hours care as both ‘remarkable value for money’ and ‘less than a cinema ticket’.
He added: ‘This week we agreed the 2015/16 GMS contract and we are looking for a period of stability. Next year there will be some adjustments to ensure population growth is reflected in people’s income. But in the next four or five years we do need to see a substantial increase in investment in primary care.’
He acknowledged that there had been problems with the way NHS England had handled the MPIG transition and hoped latest concessions would be welcomed.
He promised a review of the Carr-Hill formula to ensure that general practice resources were fairly distributed.
He promised to make CCGs stronger and cited an Ipsos Mori poll which had found 70% of practices were satisfied with the level of engagement with their CCG. The figure was higher for smaller CCGs versus larger ones (77 vs 65%).