Changes to the GP contract from next year include a reduction of minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) correction payments and a reallocation of 72 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) points.
NHS Employers and the BMA's GPs Committee (GPC) yesterday (14 October 2008) announced that they have agreed a package of changes to the General Medical Services (GMS) contract for 2009–10.
These major changes, which will apply to the GMS contract in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, aim to deliver fairer funding to GP practices based on the requirements of their local population and reward practices for the care they provide to patients with the most need.
All parties will now separately submit evidence as to the level of the uplift to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB), which has been asked to recommend an uplift to GMS contract payments for 2009–10.
The changes will reduce general practice reliance on correction factor payments under the MPIG. The gross percentage uplift figure recommended by the DDRB for 2009–10, if accepted by the government, will be applied differentially to the Global Sum, correction factor payments, QOF payments and enhanced services payments.
In addition, 72 QOF points will be reallocated. This will see practices rewarded for delivering a range of new interventions for their patients across five clinical areas: cardiovascular disease; contraception; depression; chronic kidney disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease; and heart failure.
Finally, the way that QOF payments are calculated will also be altered. In future this will increasingly reflect the prevalence of long-term health conditions among local populations. This aims to help address health inequalities by ensuring proportionately greater funding for practices in areas of high deprivation.
Barbara Hakin, GMS lead negotiator for NHS Employers, said: "I am delighted that we have made such good progress in our negotiations; all parties have been working hard together to ensure that we are now in a position to be able to announce these very significant changes.
"We are particularly pleased to have reached agreement in reducing general practice reliance on correction factor payments under MPIG, and to have come to a decision on the clinical areas where resources can be best targeted to improve patient care.
"Although it was a disappointment not to have been able to agree an uplift to the contract ourselves, I think both sides regard this agreement as a fair outcome – and certainly one that brings substantial benefits to patients."
Dr Laurence Buckman (pictured), Chairman of the GPC, said: "GPs and their patients will be relieved that all parties have reached an agreement. We hope this helps develop general practice funding in a way that recognises our most needy patients.
"GPs understand that the contract needs to be made more stable and less dependent on corrective mechanisms, and I hope that this set of changes will move towards achieving that end.
"We have agreed a way to help the DDRB give every GP a resource rise. I hope this improvement in relationships with the government will continue for the benefit of everyone who works in and uses the NHS."
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