The 2018/19 deal will provide GPs with an interim 1% pay uplift and a 1.4% increase for general expenses (excluding indemnity, which is being dealt with separately), whilst awaiting publication of the Doctors and Dentists Review Body's (DDRB) recommendation, GPC Wales said.
The DDRB offers independent advice to the government on doctors' pay. In its evidence to the DDRB earlier this year, the BMA had demanded enough funding in the 2018/19 GMS deal to deliver a 2% pay rise for GPs on top of the RPI measure of inflation, currently running at 4%.
Other details of the Welsh deal for 2018/19 are:
- An uplift of £2.7m towards the rising costs of professional indemnity for GMS GPs and the wider practice clinical teams. The BMA said that this is an interim solution while discissions on the 'indemnity situation' continue throughout the year.
- QOF will be reduced to disease registers only, other than the flu indicators that will be retained.
- The cluster network domain will only require engagement in five meetings over the year.
- An extension of the enhanced service for flu outbreak prescribing for 2018-2019.
- Support for IT migrations, which affect the 50% of Welsh practices that need to switch IT suppliers after EMIS was excluded from Wales' primary care IT deal. This will commence in January 2019.
- Improved mentoring and coaching arrangements including access to the Academi Wales coaching collaborative. A bursary of 50% of course fees for the ILM Level 7 qualification will be available.
- A commitment to explore access to health board employment benefits to improve the recruitment offering available to GPs, this could include childcare vouchers and relocation expenses.
- Improved recording of Welsh language provision at practice and cluster level.
- A commitment to explore and address barriers currently faced by those who have recently left the GP workforce. The Welsh deanery will be commissioned to evaluate retainer and returner schemes and make recommendations for any improvements.
- A set of standards will be developed for communication and 'clinical behaviours' across the primary/secondary care interface. The chief medical officer will also issue a letter re-iterating the policy position on 'fitness to work' notes and ensure unnecessary referrals are not being made for these.
Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of GPC Wales, said: 'This agreement provides much needed financial stability for practices through the indemnity offer and interim pay and expenses uplift, whilst awaiting the DDRB determination. It will also protect practice resources so that they can be used on caring for patients.
'The reductions in bureaucracy and workload will also provide some much needed respite for practices and clusters facing unprecedented demands.'