FINANCE: Northumberland Care Trust and the emerging Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group are shaking-up the income of practices in the patch, and lobbying for increased funding.

The care trust has agreed with practices to withdraw current payments compensating them for rurality and for being particularly small practices. Instead, it has designed a new sytem of payments for very small practices and a new rural funding scheme.

Board papers show “revised contractual arrangements” have now been agreed.

They also say that Alistair Blair - a GP and the interim accountable office for Northumberland CCG - “has made formal representation both to the Department of Health and senior health advisors within government regarding the allocation formula for health and rural populations”.

Earlier in the year, a committee of the care trust investigating funding decided it should “consider making representation to national bodies on the importance of the funding formula for primary care services reflecting the true costs of running GP practices that are small and serving rural and isolated communities”.

It also decided to “ask the DH to better recognise the needs of rural populations in the allocation formula for the commissioning of secondary care”.