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London GPs want to keep practice funding model despite Babylon entry

by Carolyn Wickware
9 October 2018

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GPs in London have opposed NHS England’s proposed changes to the GP funding model.
NHS England has consulted on proposals to ditch the so-called ‘list turnover index‘, which gives practices 46% more funding for newly registered patients in their first year of registration with a practice.
It has also proposed that the London weighting, which currently gives practices based in the capital £2.18 extra per patient, should only apply to patients who are London residents.
The proposals were unveiled by NHS England after GP leaders, including Londonwide LMCs, complained that the rollout of Babylon’s GP at Hand model to London patients destabilised practices.
NHS England’s consultation papers said that rather than discouraging ‘digital-first’ GP providers, it wanted to ensure the GP funding formula was adapted to their ‘rapid expansion‘.
But Londonwide LMCs said scrapping the list turnover index would negatively impact practices in London, which ‘has a highly mobile and transient population’.
Its consultation response said: ‘Funding for newly registered patients is necessary for a range of practices including those in areas with high numbers of rented properties and HMOs, those who have a high turnover… and those with new high density housing developments either in-development, or planned.’
The Londonwide LMCs’ response also calls for the London adjustment to be retained ‘for all patients, regardless of whether they reside in a London borough or a neighbouring county’.
Since November last year, GP at Hand has used the GP out-of-area registration scheme to sign up tens of thousands of London patients to a practice in southwest London.
Patients using the service are promised an online GP consultation within hours, and a next-day face-to-face appointment if required at a number of London hubs.
The BMA’s response to NHS England’s consultation on GP funding changes said the proposals provided ‘a disincentive to other practices in pursuing the digital-first model’.
This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse