Spending on general practice in England increased by 4.7 per cent in 2015-16, but its proportion of overall NHS spending grew by only a small amount, according to statistics released today. 

The NHS Digital figures said spending in cash terms increased from £9.03bn in 2014-15 to £9.46bn in 2015-16.

In the same period, NHS England’s total operating spend increased by 4.47 per cent, and the Department of Health’s spending against its revenue limit by 3.78 per cent.

Because of these overall increases in total spending, the proportion of the total going to general practice only increased very slightly. 

As a proportion of NHS England operating spend, investment in general practice increased from 9.21 per cent to 9.23 per cent.

As a proportion of Department of Health spending against its revenue limit, the increase was from 8.17 per cent to 8.24 per cent.

NHS England said in its General Practice Forward View in April that it would be “reversing the decline in general practice funding” and, by 2020-21, “raising the proportion of investment in general practice to over 10 per cent of the NHS England healthcare budget. It is likely to grow even further as CCGs shift care and resources into the community.”

The NHS Digital figures count spending by both NHS England and clinical commissioning groups, and some other sources. 

GP spending in England increased by a larger proportion than that in Scotland and Wales, according to the NHS Digital figures, but by a similar amount to that in Northern Ireland.

The DH’s accounts, published earlier this year, indicated a smaller increase in spending on GP services in England, but the NHS Digital research is considered to be more accurate.