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Overhaul of practice finance is ‘overdue’, says DAUK

by Caitlin Tilley
20 September 2022

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The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has written to new health secretary Dr Thérèse Coffey asking for an overhaul to practice finance, with GPs to be paid per contact rather than per patient, among other requests.

The letter warns of up to 16 million patients being left without NHS GPs by 2030, using Health Foundation data that said the NHS will lose up to 8,800 full-time equivalent GPs within the decade.

The DAUK demanded an ‘overdue overhaul’ of practice finance, and said: ‘Finances need to reflect the number of contacts GPs deal with, rather than the current blanket ‘per patient, per year fee’ as per the Carr-Hill formula.’

GPs should be paid for administrative time as part of the standard contract too, they said, ‘to safely deal with the mountain of documents’, as is the norm for hospital doctors.

They also advised ‘pausing all PCN activity towards extending access’, and prioritising continuity of care instead.

DAUK’s other requests included:

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  • Extending sickness self-certification to 28 days
  • Allowing pharmacists to substitute prescribed medication if out-of-stock
  • Adequate training for staff under the ARRS
  • Removing revalidation in the final five years of a GPs career
  • Removal of pension cap restrictions
  • Investment in better quality IT
  • New purpose-built premises
  • Allowing practices to use extra funding as they please

The letter references Dr Gail Milligan, who worked as a GP partner in Surrey and died on 27 July after becoming ‘overwhelmed’ with work.

‘This job is making us ill’, DAUK told Ms Coffey, echoing words said by Dr Milligan’s husband.

They also said they ‘trust that you are planning on visiting a GP surgery’, adding, ‘it did not go unnoticed by the 35,000 British GPs that several of your predecessors rarely visited a practice to get a first-hand understanding of the pressures we face every day’.

In July, outgoing RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said the Carr-Hill funding formula for practices in England ‘needs reworking very clearly’.

NHS England’s head of primary care also previously called for a ‘shift’ in GP funding allocations to support deprived practices.

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