Annual GMS contract negotiations between the GPC and NHS Employers have secured a 1% pay uplift for practices and reimbursement of rising expenses including higher CQC fees, practice upkeep and staff costs.
But GP leaders warned that while the deal is a ‘a step forward’ the service still needs a wider package of reforms to address the pressures they say are overwhelming practices.
As part of the GP contract deal for 2016/17 both sides have committed to explore ending the QOF and unplanned admissions enhanced service from April 2017.
The deal also delivers a 28% increase to the vaccination and immunisation item of service fees from £7.64 to £9.80 and the dementia enhanced service will come to an end, with funding transferred into core pay.
Details of the 2016/17 contract:
- Increased investment of £220m into the GP contract to deliver a 1% pay uplift and reimbursement to meet rising expenses facing practices, including higher CQC fees, practice upkeep and staffing costs.
- An end to the dementia enhanced service with a transfer of £42m resources to core funding.
- No new clinical workload schemes or changes to the QOF
- Joint commitment to explore the end of the QOF and avoiding unplanned admissions enhanced service from April 2017.
- A commitment to a national strategy to reduce bureaucracy and manage demand on GP services.
- A 28% increase to the vaccination and immunisation item of service fees from £7.64 to £9.80.
- GP practices will be required to record data on the availability of evening and weekend opening for routine appointments, which is to be collected until 2020/21.
- GP practices will record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.
- The value of a QOF point for 2016/17 will be £165.18.
Changes to immunisation programmes
All vaccination and immunisation programmes will continue in 2016/17, with the following changes:
- The infant dose of meningococcal C vaccination with be removed. Due to the two-year payment lag, the funding will be removed from April 2018.
- Vaccination of babies against meningitis B will continue but paracetamol will no longer be centrally supplied and there will be no new catch-up (babies eligible under the catch-up element of the programme in 2015/16 remain eligible for their booster dose in 2016/17).
- The meningococcal ACWY 18 years vaccination programme will change to allow for opportunistic vaccination of 19-25 year old non-freshers who self present for vaccination.
- The pertussis programme will be expanded to allow the vaccination of pregnant women from 20 weeks in to the pregnancy
A number of non-contractual changes to patient online acccess and IT have also been agreed:
- Practices will be encouraged to transmit prescriptions electronically using EPS Release 2, unless the patient asks for a paper prescription or the necessary technology is not in place. The aim is for 80% of repeat prescriptions to be transmitted using EPS Release 2 by 31 March 2017.
- Practices will be encouraged to make referrals using the NHS e-Referral Service, with the aim of 80% of elective referrals made using the system by 31 March 2017 unless the secondary provider has not made slots available on the system.
- Practices will aim for at least 10% of their patients to use one or more online service by 31 March 2017.
- Practices will provide patients with online access to clnical correspondence such as discharge summaries and outpatient appointments.
- From April 2016 practices will be required to receive all discharge summaries and subsequent post-event messages electronically.
Wider package of support
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens confirmed that the 2016/17 contract was only 'one small element of a far wider package' being developed by NHS England and the GPC to help practices with workload, workforce and care redesign.
He added: 'NHS England and GPC have also committed to take forward discussions in 2016 on a number of areas that include; a national approach to reducing bureaucracy and workload management in general practice, a national promotion of self-care and appropriate use of GP services, arrangements for sickness payments, an approach to calculating practice expenses and arrangements for identifying patients with EHIC or S1 and S2 forms through patient self-declaration.'