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Government says funding uplift could increase after DDRB makes recommendation

by Eliza Parr and Megan Ford
5 February 2024

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Further uplifts may be made to the 2024/25 GP contract following the Government’s response to the independent Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists Remuneration (DDRB), it has said.

The new GP contract will also include a reduction in the number of QOF targets ‘in order ‘to reduce bureaucracy’. And it’s been confirmed that general practice nurses (GPNs) will be included in ARRS.

A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was issued last week following an initial offer of a 1.9% uplift to baseline GMS funding for the 2024/25 contract, which practice managers described as ‘a show of contempt for general practice’.

The BMA’s GP Committee England voted the offer down last Thursday and instructed its negotiators to continue talks.

However, a DHSC spokesperson said:  ‘Further pay uplifts may be made to the GP contract following the Government’s response to the independent Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration.

They added: ‘GPs are at the heart of our communities and we hugely value their vital work. This contract will reduce unnecessary and burdensome bureaucracy so they can spend more valuable time with their patients, while also giving them greater autonomy to run local practices’. 

Separately, primary care minister Andrea Leadsom also said the Government will reconsider its GP funding uplift offer once the DDRB makes a recommendation in ‘the coming months’. 

This was said in a letter sent last week following a meeting between herself and the BMA, which was sought to discuss what it described as a ‘grossly inadequate’ funding offer.

Dame Andrea’s letter revealed that a number of other financial considerations – including ring-fencing funding for GP staff – are also up for discussion.

Meanwhile, the DHSC stated that QOF indicators, which were reduced from 74 to 55 this year, will be lowered further as part of the next contract. The Government is currently consulting the public on the future of QOF, with a question on whether it should be scrapped altogether. 

And ARRS, which currently allows recruitment of 17 roles in primary care but not GPs, will be expanded to cover nurses and mental health practitioners. 

The nursing profession has been calling for a widening of the scheme to include general practice nurses amid serious concerns that otherwise it could see the demise of the role, our sister publication Nursing in Practice reported.

A petition calling for GPNs and GPs to be added to the scheme recently surpassed 10,000 signatures.

Versions of this story were first published on our sister titles Pulse and Nursing in Practice