What are the changes to the GP Contract for 2018-19?

With effect from 01 April 2018, several changes have been made to the General Medical Services (GMS).

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According to NHS England, the new agreement is part of the body’s longterm investment in GP services. In the current financial year there will be a 3.4% uplift in financial investment, amounting to just over £256 million. This will rise to over £12 billion a year by 2020/21.

The changes affect several areas:

1. Financial

  • There is 1% uplift in pay (amounting to over £102 million), and a 3% uplift in expenses.
    • The amount per practice allocated by the Global Sum Formula will increase from £85.35 to £87.92 per weighted patient.
    • The value of a Quality and Outcomes Framework point will rise by 4.1% (from £171.20 to £179.26).
    • Practices now have the ability to advertise fixed-term for GP locum jobs to provide temporary cover for absent staff. The maximum weekly payment for workers filling locum jobs has also increased to £1,751.52 a week. This is positive news for providers of locum staff, such as http://www.thegplocumagency.co.uk/.

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2. Contractual

  • There is a new requirement for GP practices to use the NHS e-Referral System for all new referrals to external consultants from October 2018.
    • There is a new target for GP practices to have at least 10% of their patients registered for online services; practices that fail to meet this target will be required to work with NHS England to better promote online services.
    • The National Quality Requirements are set to be replaced in October 2018 with new Key Performance Indicators.
    • NHS-commissioned practices will no longer be able to advertise GP services which are provided by private providers, if practices are supposed to be providing such services on the NHS.

    3. Patient-related

  • GPs now have the ability to remove a patient from the violent patients register, if a patient has been flagged as violent in error.
    • GPs will be able to share relevant patient data with social care providers, provided that certain safeguards are met.

    While the BMA describes the changes as ‘minimal’, the General Practitioners Committee has informed that it is working to introduce ‘major’ changes in the 2019 financial year, including a ‘wholesale review’ of the Quality and Outcomes Framework, options for revitalising the partnership model and new staff initiatives.

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