GPs Agree New Contract After NHS England Concessions

Tim Locke

February 07, 2020

The BMA GP England committee has agreed a new contract after winning major changes to a previously rejected deal.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)  called the new contract "encouraging".

The BMA said many controversial requirements in Primary Care Network (PCN) service responsibilities had been pared back.

The deal will be put to a special conference of English Local Medical Committees (LMCs).

Key elements of the package for 2020-21 include:

  • An above inflation pay rise, as agreed in the 2019/20 deal

  • £94m to address recruitment and retention issues, including a one-off £20,000 new partnership premium

  • 100% reimbursement for all additional staff recruited via PCNs

  • £173m for additional health professional roles to help PCN workloads

  • Expansion to the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme (TERS) with one-off £20,000 payments to trainee GPs in under-doctored areas

  • More GP trainee time spent in general practice

  • Childcare funding for doctors returning to general practice, and enhanced shared parental leave arrangements for salaried GPs

  • No requirement for GPs to perform fortnightly care home visits

'Tough Negotiations'

In a statement, Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC England chair, said: "After months of challenging and tough negotiations we’re pleased to have secured this package of changes that have the potential to make a real difference to GPs, the practices they work in and the patients they treat.

"The significant investment in and focus on recruitment and retention, including payments to incentivise doctors to take up partnership roles and work in under-doctored areas, is a vote of confidence in the partnership model and a much needed first step if we are to reverse the worrying trend of falling GP numbers that we have seen in recent years."

He continued: "These changes won’t fix the crisis gripping general practice overnight and we recognise there is much more work to do to address the real concerns that GPs and LMCs have expressed in recent weeks. However, they are a significant step in the right direction. Alongside NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Government must now build on these foundations if it is to deliver on its promises to boost GP numbers, improve patient access and ultimately guarantee the future of general practice."

RCGP Chair, Professor Martin Marshall, said in a statement: "This is an encouraging contract."

He continued: "We hope it will serve as a catalyst to deliver the funding and workforce pledges that have been made and are so desperately needed to ensure general practice is sustainable in the future.

"This contract should help us to deliver services that will be beneficial for patients whilst relieving workload and providing much needed support for hard pressed GPs.

"We are pleased that NHS England has responded to many of the recommendations made by the College in our recent Workforce Roadmap and has listened to the profession by making their proposed specifications for Primary Care Networks, which caused great consternation within the profession, less onerous. This should help to ensure that Primary Care Networks have the time and space to succeed."

'Vote of Confidence in General Practice'

The Department of Health and Social Care said the deal would mean at least an additional £1.5 billion in total for general practice over the next 4 years.

In a news release, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This new contract is the first step to delivering our manifesto commitment to make it easier to get a GP appointment when you need it by delivering 50 million more appointments a year in general practice.

"The significant additional investment means GP surgeries can recruit more pharmacists, physiotherapists and other health professionals so patients get the right care for them when they need it. It’s all part of our commitment to ensure the NHS is always there for everyone."

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, added: "Coming on the heels of the highest ever number of young doctors now choosing to train as GPs, this is a vote of confidence in general practice that goes with the grain both of what patients need and what GPs themselves want to provide."


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