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Details of Welsh GP contract for 2017/18

GP contract funding for Wales will rise around £27m in 2017/18 under a deal announced by health secretary Vaughan Gething.

The deal includes a 2.7% uplift for GP pay and expenses.

The increased funding is intended to provide a 1% pay rise for GPs and practice staff, 1.4% to cover rising practice costs, and contributions towards indemnity costs, pensions administration, parental and sickness leave, and funding to cover a business improvement levy.

New enhanced services covering care homes, warfarin management, diabetes and the delivery of secondary care-initiated phlebotomy testing are also part of the deal.

Enhanced services

Enhanced services for 2017/18 will fund practices in Wales for:

GPC Wales has also secured a commitment from the Welsh government and NHS Wales to work together to improve GP access, reduce bureaucracy and tackle rising indemnity costs.

Full details of the QOF for 2017/18, which will include changes to the cluster network domain, will be available by 31 March.

The extra funding for the contract is in addition to the £40m for premises development announced in January and £95m for training healthcare professionals, many of whom will support primary care.

Speaking to GPonline, GPC Wales deputy chair Dr David Bailey said the directed enhanced services around diabetes and support for residential and nursing care populations would be 'genuinely beneficial for patients' and would help ease pressure on hospitals.

Better sickness payments would significantly relieve pressure on small practices, Dr Bailey said. 'For small practices at the moment, one partner off long-term sick is a disaster. The deal we have is similar to England and actually significantly promotes resilience for more vulnerable practices.'

He added that the deal would also promote development by GP clusters of services 'responsive to local needs' that could ease pressure on GPs by providing new options to refer patients to.

Future developments

GPC Wales has also begun talks with the government on further changes to funding for indemnity, plans to increase GP collaborative working and the future of the QOF that could significantly reshape the GP contract in Wales from April 2018.

'We have had preliminary discussions on indemnity, practices working together more, what we do with QOF - and hope to outline this to the profession this side of Christmas,' Dr Bailey said.

He said the deal could bring a 'step change' for the GP contract in Wales, and confirmed that Welsh GP leaders were monitoring closely changes in Scotland - where the QOF has been scrapped - and 'trying to pick up the good bits'.

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