NHS England has indicated that the amount of spending on GPs and primary medical care services will grow at a higher rate than other health services in the existing financial year.
The critical health organisation was outlining the NHS budget for the next five years.
In its statement, NHS England indicated that general practice will receive extra cash in the region of 5 per cent of its funding annually for the next five years.
To achieve this, the primary medical care allocation formula is being updated “to account for changes in GP workload since the original ‘Carr Hill’ methodology was developed over a decade ago.”
These additional allocations will ensure that the clinical commissioning groups will receive a real terms budget increase.
An additional £450 million of new funding is also being made available for primary care, CCGs and specialised care.
This nearly half of £1 billion investment is intended to support the ‘DevoManc’ partnership deal, when health services are devolved there.
NHS England stated that “with adjustments made so that extra funding for local health services is targeted at those parts of the country with the greatest health needs, where the population is growing rapidly, and where there are additional and historic pressures because of rurality.”
The additional investment in GP services has been warmly welcomed by some of the most esteemed doctors’ groups in the country.
Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of The Royal College of General Practitioners, particularly welcomed the investment.
“This is good news for general practice, the NHS as a whole and most importantly our patients. It is testament to the power of our ‘Put patients first: Back general practice’ campaign that has brought home the harsh reality of years of underinvestment in our services and the impact this has on patients and our profession,” Baker commented.
The Chair of the Royal College went on to point out that this latest investment is extremely important considering the historical context of investments in general practice.
Patient consultations have risen massively over the last few years, with 370 million now taking place annually in the United Kingdom. This is an increase of 60 million from 2010.
“Over the same period investment in our service has consistently decreased and the number of GPs has remained relatively stagnant,” Dr Baker stated. “This money will help us to employ more GPs, more practice staff, and offer more and enhanced services, including longer appointments for those who need them.”
Dr Mark Spencer, NHS Alliance co-chair, added: “It is no secret that general practice is facing increasing strain and demand, and this funding will go some way to relieve part of the pressure facing practices across the country.”
Spencer was also concerned about cuts to pharmacy.
“However, general practice must not be viewed in isolation, and the news that community pharmacy is to receive a substantial cut in funding gives cause for concern.”
PSNC was informed last week of a 6 per cent reduction in the community pharmacy contractual framework.