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Investment in general practice was up by 2.5% in real terms in 2020/21

by Beth Gault
16 May 2022

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The Government’s investment in general practice was up by 2.54% in real terms in 2020/21, compared with the previous year and excluding Covid costs, new figures have shown.

The data, published 12 May, reported that the total investment in general practice in England in 2020/21, excluding Covid costs, was £13.3bn, compared with £13.0bn real terms investment in 2019/20.

The 2019/20 investment figure was an increase in real terms of 7.19% from 2018/19.

NHS England noted that: ‘The real terms percentage change in 2020/21 is suppressed by the exceptional GDP deflator figure for 2020/21 (5.65% compared with an annual average of 2.05% for the previous four years).

‘The 2020/21 GDP deflator was high due to reduction in activity-related to Covid, which is expected to be offset in future years by resumption of activity as Covid levels fall.’

Investment in total essential and additional services was at £6.1bn, compared to £5.9bn in 2019/20, while the total paid out for QOF was £756m, in 2020/21, compared with £733m in the year prior.

Premises investment also increased from £882.8m to £940.4m over the same period.

Total Covid related costs were £704m over the 2020/21 financial year and were not recorded in the 2019/20 year.

It comes after QOF was fully reinstated from April this year, despite concerns the system does not take into account the significant impact of the pandemic on long-term conditions and that it could financially penalise practices.

An LMC’s analysis also recently found that the updated PCN DES offers an overall funding increase of £2 per patient. It has been criticised as an amount that does not recognise the ‘significant’ increased workload.

The analysis concluded that the PCN DES offered ‘new funding on the one hand (e.g. Enhanced Access), whilst ‘removing funding on the other (e.g. lack of inflationary uplifts, discontinued funding streams, increases in complexity of IIF target thresholds).’