The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has responded to reports the Government is offering GPs a 1.9 per cent uplift to the General Medical Services (GMS) baseline funding.
Dr Lizzie Toberty, DAUK’s GP Lead, said a 1.9 per cent rise would be “completely derisory” and was well below the level of inflation.
She was responding to a report in PulseToday.co.uk that the Government’s initial offer for this year’s GP contract includes only a 1.9 per cent rise in baseline funding, at a time when other parts of the health service have received funding uplifts of six per cent.
Dr Toberty said: “A 1.9 per cent uplift is completely derisory and is yet another reduction in payments in real terms.
“We can’t possibly continue to run general practice on contract uplifts that are hugely below inflation. Our costs are astronomical and have been going up and up while we’ve had to endure cuts and freezes to our funding.
“It is clear this Government has absolutely no commitment to primary care.
“It’s becoming an increasing struggle for people to access the basics of general practice care.
“We now find out that Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) staff have not reduced workloads due to a lack of skills.
“And we’re also seeing a huge amount of money being diverted to the Pharmacy First scheme.
“None of this would have been needed if the money for primary care had been spent on doctors and nurses in the first place.
“We urge them to fund general practice appropriately. An extra £30 to £50 per patient per year would be transformational and mean we can do our job of supporting the nation’s health properly.
“£200 per PT per year, would still represent phenomenal value.
“There is a very real possibility that if the government does not increase funding we are heading towards a dentistry model of private care being all that is available in many areas. This would be an unmitigated disaster.”
DAUK spokesperson and GP Dr Steve Taylor said: “The 1.9 per cent represents a real terms cut for GP practices who have seen a 20 per cent real terms cut in income since 2016.
“Many practices are unable to pay for core staff including GPs and some are making GPs redundant.
“This is at a time when the country needs GPs.
“The Conservative manifesto in 2015 promised 5,000 more GPs and the 2019 one promised 6,000 more. We now have 2,000 fewer GPs than 2015.
“This contract offer shows what the Government really thinks of GPs and patient care.
“Many GPs, including myself, are extremely angry, but sadly others are just leaving.”
Pulse reported that Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the General Practitioners Committee (GPC), has written to primary care minister Andrea Leadsom to ask her to intervene in the negotiation.
In her letter, she said: “It is with genuine regret that I write to you today to seek to markedly improve the current grossly inadequate GMS (general medical services) baseline funding increase offer of 1.9% (£178m).
“By choosing to set aside the compelling body of evidence that GPCE has presented, the starvation of core funding at a practice-level will have devastating consequences on local patient services.”