General practitioner England

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Funding boost for primary care

Chaand-Nagpaul-3 GPC chair 2015 16x9

The BMA has described as ‘significant’ a raft of proposals designed to provide sustainable long-term support for general practice.

In a report published today, NHS England sets out a series of measures aimed at tackling the mounting crisis of workforce, investment and workload facing GPs, with many of its recommendations based on calls previously made by the association.

BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul said the General Practice Forward View represented the most promising plan for general practice in more than a decade, crediting the support package to years of intense lobbying and hard work by the BMA.

He said: ‘The General Practice Forward View represents a significant and comprehensive package of proposals to support general practice both in the immediate and longer term, the most that we have seen since 2004.

‘Many of the proposals have taken on board GPC’s specific recommendations in our Urgent Prescription for General Practice.

‘This includes our proposals for increased recurring investment, with over £2bn additional funding every year going into general practice, the introduction of a practice resilience programme, a commitment to address rising indemnity costs, the need for an expansion of the workforce, along with initiatives to encourage GP retention, and support to reduce unnecessary burdens on general practice.

He added: ‘These are vital to ensuring GPs can deliver high quality patient care today and in the future.’

NHS England’s plans include initiatives aimed at tackling all areas of general practice, with notable highlights including a pledge to increase annual investment in the sector by £2.4bn by 2020-21 – equivalent to a 14 per cent real terms increase.

It is likely to mean that within five years, general practice will attract 10.4 per cent of the NHS budget, and could approach the minimum of 11 per cent for which the BMA called in its action plan last week, via additional clinical commissioning group funding.

In addition there will be a ‘sustainability and transformation’ package of more than £500m to support struggling practices.

The report also lays out plans to train an extra 5,000 GPs and bring in an extra 5,000 support staff such as mental health therapists within the same period.

Other key aims of the forward view include:

- Boosting GP training recruitment to 3,250 a year along with national and international recruitment drives aimed at attracting doctors to become GPs.

- Bursaries of up to £20,000 for hard-to-recruit regions.

- A £31 million investment to pilot 470 clinical pharmacists in over 700 practices.

- A four year £40 million practice resilience programme to start this year.

The report also recommends that CQC inspections will eventually move to a five-year basis for most practices, and that a consultation among doctors on efforts to tackle indemnity costs will take place by July.

Changes to infrastructure investment will mean that NHS England will be able to fund up to 100 per cent of premises development costs, as well as stamp duty and land tax for those surgeries that are currently tenants of NHS property.

Find out more and read the General Practice Forward View in full

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