New changes to the GP contract in England will begin to address the issues facing general practice by cutting unnecessary targets, reduce bureaucratic box-ticking and give doctors more time to focus on the needs of their patients, GP leaders have said.
The changes to the GP contract in England have been agreed following negotiations between the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee and NHS Employers.
“This will not only free up GPs to spend more time focusing on treating patients, but will also mean that valuable resources will be reinvested in general practice to improve frontline care,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA’s GP committee.
Key changes to the GP contract include:
- Introduction of a new “enhanced service” for patients with complex health needs to avoid them being unnecessarily admitted to hospital or A&E. This will involve easier telephone access for emergency providers ringing GPs to decide whether or not the patient needs to be admitted.
- Reducing the size of the quality and outcome framework (designed to fund general practice) – with 238 QOF points (worth around £290 million) being made part of the core GP funding. A further 100 points will fund part of the enhanced service to help prevent patients being inappropriately admitted to hospital with an overall budget of £162 million.
- That every person aged 75 and over will be assigned a named accountable GP, who will ensure that patients receive coordinated care.
- A commitment to monitor the quality of out-of-hours services when used by their patients.
- The introduction of the Friends and Family test from December 2014 asking patients how likely they are to recommend a GP practice.
- The introduction of new IT systems including the ability for patients to book appointments online and access their summary care record.