UK Government consultation on GP contract changes in England
On 25 October we alerted GPs to the UK Government’s intention to impose changes to GP contracts from April 2013.
The Department of Health has now given us further details of these proposals.
Read the proposals in full in the Department’s letter (PDF).
This letter indicates the start of a formal consultation period which closes on 26 February 2013.
The Department has confirmed that it intends to:
- Phase out correction factor payments over seven years
- Implement all changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) recommended by NICE, including those rejected for good reason by the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) during negotiations this year
- Increase upper thresholds for 20 QOF indicators next year and for remaining indicators from 2014 to match upper quartile achievement. After 2015 upper thresholds will continue to rise with overall achievement.
Read about the likely impact of these increases
- End most of the organisational indicators and requires GPs to take on new work to retain this funding
- Reduce the time period for most indicators from 15 to 12 months
- Reform the Contractor Population Index in QOF
- Introduce significant new work as part of a basket of services administered through a DES, which will include:
- testing for dementia in at-risk groups
- a risk profiling scheme to anticipate the needs of physically and mentally vulnerable patients (details to be agreed locally)
- on-line access to practice services – booking, ordering, prescriptions, test results and medical records
- supporting people with long-term conditions to monitor their health remotely. The plan is to start next year with hypothyroidism and a local priority area with the intention to make this work harder over time.
We will be analysing these proposals in full and will keep you informed as we know more.
We sincerely hope that there will be a genuine consultation period and that ministers will revise their plans in light of our concerns. We will meet Health Department officials in the coming weeks to discuss their proposals and will provide you with much more detail shortly.
GPC chair, Laurence Buckman has also written to the Secretary of State for Health expressing his views on the way the contract changes have been handled.
Read Laurence's letter to Jeremy Hunt
In the new year we intend to launch a GP survey and to run a series of regional meetings to gather your views on the detailed proposals. We anticipate there will be considerable anger from the profession as a result of these proposals, which will involve GP practices being required to take on more work with perilously unstable practice funding.
Read the BMA latest press release on these proposals
Employers’ superannuation payments for locums
As you will see from the Department’s letter, there is currently a separate consultation on pensions which includes a proposal to transfer responsibility for payment of locum superannuation contributions from Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) to practices.
The intention is to shift current funding for these payments into global sum funding.
As practices use locums to varying degrees, we believe this will have an uneven impact on practices and will prove to be disadvantageous for locum GPs. We will respond to this consultation robustly.