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GP funding sees 7% real-terms cut since 2019

by Eliza Parr
22 January 2024

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GP funding has been cut by almost £350m in real terms since 2019, according to new figures commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.

This represents a 3.3% real terms cut to the total payments made to general practice, but the analysis also showed that funding per patient was slashed by just under 7% over the same period. 

In 2022/23, GP practices were paid £165 per registered patient, which is £12 less than in 2018/19 when adjusted for inflation. 

The Liberal Democrats said these cuts were ‘unforgivable’ and showed that the Conservative Government is ‘out of touch’ with patients. 

The House of Commons Library research on GP funding also revealed that 40 out of 42 ICB areas saw real-terms cuts since 2019, with North West London seeing a 16.8% real terms cut per patient, which equates to a £28 decrease.

Other hard-hit areas included North Central London with a 14% cut, Buckingham, Berkshire and Oxfordshire (BOB) with 11%, and Black Country with 10%. 

The researchers pointed out that their figures did not include Covid-19 vaccination payments or any money from PCNs.

RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne it ‘makes absolutely no sense that spending on general practice is falling in real terms’.

‘We need to see significantly more investment in our general practice service, not less – this is one of the key asks in our manifesto, which we want all political parties to take heed of as we approach the next General Election,’ she said. 

Professor Hawthorne also highlighted the fact that funding cuts ‘adversely impact communities with higher rates of deprivation’ which worsens health inequalities. 

‘If, as the major political parties say, they want much more healthcare delivered in the community, including preventative care, this must be properly resourced to be successful,’ she added. 

GP practices have been locked into a five-year contract since 2019, but this will come to an end in March.

The BMA is currently surveying grassroots GPs on their wishes for the future contract, and the GP Committee (GPC) chair told our sister publication Pulse that the Government’s offer will be put out to a referendum next month. 

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse