This site is intended for health professionals only

GP contract changes will make ‘tiny difference’ to practice finances, NHS England admits

by Anna Colivicchi
4 March 2024

Share this article

The GP contract changes will ‘only make a tiny difference’ to practices, NHS England’s national director of primary care has admitted.

During a webinar held last week about the imposed GP contract for 2024/25, Dr Amanda Doyle was faced with hundreds of disappointed comments from attending GPs.

Acknowledging concerns, she admitted that contractual changes aimed at ‘increasing flexibility’ would only make a small difference compared with increased funding.

But she cast the blame on the Department of Health and Social Care, whose financial allocation gave NHS England ‘no power’ to improve GP financial conditions.

She said: ‘I absolutely get it – we had a cash envelope within we could work, and no option at all to go above that. And as you know allocation comes from the Department of Health and this is what we are given.

‘I absolutely recognise why people feel like they do, I absolutely recognise what the pressures are, and I know that it only makes a tiny difference to increasing flexibility and improving cash flow.

‘But it does not change the overall position, and I have no power to do anything to increase the overall financial position at this point.’

Dr Doyle also added that a further uplift may be made following the Government’s response to the independent pay review body recommendations for 2024/25.

The 2024/25 GP contract round is the first time in five years that the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) has been asked to give a recommendation on GP partner pay.

Dr Doyle said: ‘When DDRB release their recommendations the Government will look at those, review the position and decide.

Whatever is applied for DDRB this year will apply to GP partners as well – I don’t know what that will be until they recommend, and the Government decides whether to take on the recommendations.’

Dr Doyle also faced questions about a new contractual requirement to consider continuity of care when a patient makes contact.

In response to concerns aired among GP attendees, she said that this won’t be ‘another set of boxes to tick’.

Dr Doyle said: ‘We are really keen that what we do is not just introducing another set of boxes to tick or things to measure, so we are looking at ways in which we can recognise the importance of continuity while making it easily measurable.’

The 2024/25 contract announced last week, which includes a funding increase of just over 2%, received strong criticism from the profession, with the BMA’s GP committee chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer warning that the general practice business model is being ‘squeezed to non-viability’.

A version of this story first appeared on our sister publication Pulse