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GP contract 2015/16 unveiled

by Lalah-Simone Springer
30 September 2014

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The 2015/16 GP contract, announced today, will see practices obliged to publish their average earnings by March 2016 as part of a bid for additional “transparency”. 

Before the end of the year NHS Employers will be discussing a new premises improvement strategy with the British Medical Association (BMA) in the hopes of transferring more care into the community. 

Practices will be guaranteed funding for a maternity and paternity leave, which can be used for either external locums or cover pay for GPs in the practice who do not already work full time. Practices will be offered £1,113.74 for the first two weeks and £1,734.18 for each week afterwards.

The patient participation direct enhanced service (DES) and the alcohol enhanced service have been removed, with funding moving into core pay instead. Practices will now be expected to maintain the services. 

In addition, there will be a 15% reduction in the total seniority payments agreed in 2014/15. No additional indicators have been added to the quality and outcomes framework (QOF). 

The contract calls for patients to be able to access more detailed access to their records online, and more appointments to be able to book online, and GPs will be supported to offer patients more email consultations. 

The value of a QOF point will be adjusted to take into account relative changes in practice list size.

However, the changes – as negotiated by the BMA GP committee and NHS Employers – focus on the new requirement for all patients to have a named, accountable GP by April 2018. 

Following this change, GPs will be tasked with tailoring care for each patient on their list. last ear it was introduced for people aged 75 and over. 

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “GPs are the bedrock of the NHS and by bringing back a named accountable GP for everyone we will strengthen the relationship between GPs and their patients. 

“I understand the pressures that general practice is facing with an ageing population, but we want make sure that all patients get personalised care tailored to their physical and mental health needs, supporting people to live healthier lives.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA GP committee said that the agreement will offer general practice more “breathing space”. 

He said: “The government has said that it understands the pressures on GPs and their impact on patient care and access to services and that it is committed to delivering the necessary solutions.” 

NHS Employers lead negotiator Steven Golledge said: “I am please that we have been able to achieve a negotiated agreement before the end of September. This will give GPs and their staff time to prepare for the changes which commence in April 2015. 

“The agreed changes will deliver improved care for patients and should further strengthen their relationship with GPs. We believe that the agreement also represents value for money for the tax payer recognising the current economic climate.”