One of the intentions behind the new national GP contract was to reduce inequities between funding for practices, writes Laurence Buckman

The government chose to focus its investment for this on performance-related pay via the quality and outcomes framework. This left basic practice funding seriously under-resourced.

In order to avoid this, the government introduced the minimum practice income guarantee so that practices could continue to provide normal services. This protected patient care but also froze the funding inequalities which had historically existed. The British Medical Association's GPs committee would like to work towards a situation where the income guarantee is no longer needed, but this would need long-term planning matched by resources to protect services to patients.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman, BMA GPs committee