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04-03-2013 | General practice | Article

Efficiency hits primary care spending


Nuffield Trust – The Anatomy of Health Spending 2011/12

medwireNews:A report by the Nuffield Trust has found that real-terms spending on primary care fell during the 2011 financial year, following the introduction of QIPP efficiency targets.

The Anatomy of Health Spending 2011/12 shows that despite rapidly increasing spending on community services, hospital spending also increased by 1.2% in real-terms in 2011/12, but spending on GP services fell by the same percentage.

"The more rapid growth in hospital spending relative to primary care raises questions about whether the NHS has the right balance of services for the future," the report states.

The findings are part of an overall trend of declining investment in primary care services, which PCTs spent just 24% of their budgets on in 2011/12 compared with 26% in 2003/4.

Co-author, Anita Charlesworth said in a press statement: "We will overlook opportunities to meet the efficiency challenge unless we pay close attention to where and how the NHS spends money, and what we get for it.

"This report shows clearly that, for all the rhetoric, money is still moving into hospitals, not out of them."

BMA Chair, Dr Mark Porter, said that more needs to be done to move spending away from hospitals, especially as they continue to strain with the burden of PFI contracts.

"The real terms decline in spending on primary care is disappointing but not surprising. Investing in community care and GP services would be hugely beneficial to patients and do much to relieve pressure on the hospital sector," Dr Porter stated.

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

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter