At the end of last month, the General Practitioners’ Committee voted to allow negotiators to work with the Department of Health (DH) on plans to change GP practice funding allocations to take account of deprivation factors.
The GPC said that there is evidence to suggest a link between deprivation and ill health and its members agreed that deprivation may increase practice workload.
Therefore, a motion was passed to the effect that the GPC will work with the Department to introduce either a deprivation allowance or other recognition of increased workload in deprived areas.
The last consultation took place in 2007, when a group, which included representatives from the GPC, NHS Employers and the DH, concluded that including a measure of deprivation in the workload adjustment element of the formula was likely to result in a ‘small benefit’ but it was unclear how it would be effectively implemented.
The current Carr-Hill formula, which determines GPs’ income, could therefore be replaced with a new postcode-based funding system, in line with the Liberal Democrat manifesto pledge for GPs to receive more funding for working in practices treating patients from the most deprived areas via a so-called ‘patient premium’.
Apart from looking at the Carr-Hill formula, negotiators will have to take into account the removal of the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) over a seven-year period.
The Formula Review Group’s report is now due to be updated by the NHS Commissioning Board and will be negotiated on soon, although the DH has warned that if no negotiated solution can be reached it will need to consider whether to pursue the improvements or not.
As an accountant; David Jacobs offers a range of accounting, audit and taxation advice to the legal and medical professions.