BMA GPs agree contract changes with Department of Health

by BMA Northern Ireland media team

Press release from BMA Northern Ireland 

Location: Northern Ireland
Published: Tuesday 7 May 2024
Press Release Icon

BMA Northern Ireland GP committee has agreed changes to the general medical services (GMS) contract as part of their campaign to stabilise and sustain primary care services in Northern Ireland.

The changes have been agreed for 2024-2025, with the committee and the Department of Health agreeing to further work to overhaul the contract from 2025 onwards.

Significantly the committee were able to secure £5 million in funding for an indemnity solution for this year.

Commenting on the changes, lead negotiator and NIGPC chair Alan Stout said, “When we entered negotiations we were clear that we had three aims; to simplify the contract, to ensure a fair uplift and to make significant progress on indemnity. 

“We have managed to negotiate successfully in these key areas for this year, and we secured a commitment from the Department and SPPG to further review the contract for subsequent years.

“Equalising the indemnity provision for GPs in Northern Ireland was a 'red line' for the negotiators and we were able to secure £5million for this year to cover indemnity costs.

“This will be shared on a capitation basis among practices and will mean an average uplift of £15.9k per average practice and, to help with cash flow, this will be paid at the start of this financial year. We will continue to work with the Department to bring forward a longer-term indemnity solution that ensures we have parity with the rest of the UK.

“To ensure there was some much-needed simplification of current arrangements we agreed that a significant number of items could be moved into core funding, which has the benefit of providing more streamlined funding. Some of the items that are now in core funding include additional monitoring of amber drugs, alcohol, clinical waste and chronic respiratory funding.  

“I am pleased that practices will now see the bulk of their funding paid in 12 monthly instalments to help with cashflow and budget planning. We were also able to ensure that no practice will lose any of their current income as there will be a financial floor for everyone. 

“A new Northern Ireland Assurance Framework is being finalised that will bring all regulatory, legal and statutory requirements into one place. We have worked hard to make sure that this is a 'light touch' assurance framework, not more work for GPs and their teams to complete. 

“Negotiating these changes has been challenging. We have not achieved everything we know needs to be done and we will continue to work on a new fit for purpose GMS for 2025 onwards.

“Further progress needs to made to make sure we are able to continue to offer GP services to patients across Northern Ireland. However it is clear this will be dependent on the health budget. We need to continue this work to achieve an increased overall resource to practices which in turn would mean we could finally fully roll out MDTs across Northern Ireland.”



Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

Contact Information