This briefing paper provides general background for Members and their staff on NHS primary medical services provided by GPs in England. It gives an overview of commissioning arrangements as well as information on changes to GP contracts and funding.Jump to full report >>
It is estimated that around 90 per cent of patient interaction with the NHS is with primary care services, including GP practices, dental services and community pharmacies.
The majority of GP services are independently contracted from NHS England. There are a number of different ways that funding can be allocated to GP practices, and different contracting methods.
The majority of GP practices use the nationally negotiated core GP contract: the General Medical Services (GMS) contract. Changes were made to the GMS contract for 2015/16 as a result of negotiations between NHS Employers and the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee. Key changes in the 2015/16 contract include:
NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, published on 23 October 2014 stated that NHS England will be investing ‘a much higher proportion’ of its budget on GP services. Funding has subsequently been committed, including £550 million announced in March 2015 to improve access to GPs, modernise GP surgeries and improve out-of-hospital care:
In May 2015, the Prime Minister gave a speech setting out plans for a 7-day NHS, which included improving access to GP services. He set a commitment that by the end of the 2015/16 financial year, 18 million patients will have access to a GP at mornings, evenings and weekends, which will be extended to everyone by the end of the 2015 Parliament.
In June 2015, the Health Secretary set out a new deal for GPs, including commitments to increase the primary care workforce, support 7 day access to the NHS, and reduce bureaucracy to allow GPs more clinical time with patients.
In September 2015, the Health Select Committee launched an enquiry into Primary Care, which will examine areas including: the quality and standards of care for patients; demand and access (including out of hours access and proposals for 7 day access); funding (including local and national distribution of resourcing); and commissioning.
This briefing paper provides general background for Members and their staff on NHS primary medical services provided by GPs in England. It gives an overview of commissioning arrangements as well as information on changes to GP contracts and funding.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7194
Authors: Elizabeth Parkin; Tom Powell
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