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18-03-2013 | General practice | Article

DH stands firm on contract proposals


Department of Health – Consultation on GP Contract 2013/14

medwireNews: Following lengthy consultation with the BMA, the Department of Health has made only minor concessions to its original proposals for the 2013/14 GP contract.

In line with changes announced last October (click here), the Government will press ahead with phasing out the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee, introducing 12 new NICE-recommended Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) recommendations and raising QOF thresholds. In addition, organisational QOF indicators will be scrapped to free up £ 164 m for enhanced services.

The only changes to the original proposals are the deferred introduction of two QOF indicators for referral to rehabilitation services and gradual threshold increases for two physical activity indicators which, along with a new blood pressure indicator, will be given greater QOF funding

The announcement came after the Government last week rejected the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body recommendation of a 2.29% GMS contract uplift, opting instead to offer GP practices only 1.32% (click here).

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the changes are to the benefit of patients. "Improving care for patients has always been my priority. The GP contract needs to change to make sure the excellent care enjoyed by some patients is more consistent across the country," he said in a press statement.

However, the BMA GPC warned that they had the potential to undermine service provision and lead to reduced patient access.

Chair, Dr Laurence Buckman said: "Ministers have completely failed to take on board the concerns of thousands of GPs about the cumulative impact of these proposals on general practice. Practices will face numerous new targets that will divert valuable clinical time and resources towards box ticking and administrative work.

He added: "It is unacceptable that the government has ignored this weight of opinion and ploughed ahead with so many ill thought out proposals that run the risk of destabilising patient care."

medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter