Published: 08/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5985 Page 6

The new GP contract has cost the NHS£300m more than it had planned, Department of Health finance director Richard Douglas has admitted.

Mr Douglas also revealed the consultant contract had gone£90m over budget.

He told MPs on the Commons health select committee last week that 'largely due to over-achievement on the quality and outcomes framework [which gives GPs extra cash for achieving targets] we will be spending around£300m more on the general medical services contract than was originally planned'.

When challenged on the cost of the consultant contract, Mr Douglas admitted it was likely to cost roughly£90m 'more than expected' - hiking up the total cost to£340m.

He said reports that the overspend on new contracts for healthcare staff under Agenda for Change was 'nowhere near' the£900m reported. But he said the DoH had not yet put a figure on the cost.

Yesterday NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp published his annual report on NHS performance, which highlighted where the NHS had spent its£6.7bn in 2004-05.

Thirty per cent of the money was spent on pay, 48 per cent on extra staff, activity and drugs, 18 per cent on capital and training and the rest on 'other costs'.