Every general practice will be required to publish the average earnings of their GPs as part of the new contract announced today.

Practices must publish the average net earnings of their partners and salaried GPs for 2014-15, in addition to the number of full time and part time GPs. The measure is due to be implemented by 31 March 2016.

The government’s “named GP” policy will be extended to all patients, including children, under the new contract. David Cameron is expected to discuss the policy in his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham later today.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the move would “strengthen the relationship between GPs and their patients”.

“I understand the pressures that general practice is facing with an ageing population, but we want make sure that all patients get personalised care tailored to their physical and mental health needs, supporting people to live healthier lives,” he said.

The current GP contract stipulates that GP practices must identify a “named” or “accountable GP” for patients over 75.

The 2015-16 GP contract, which affects all practices operating under general medical services contracts, was agreed between the British Medical Association’s GP committee, NHS England and the Department of Health.

NHS England and the BMA committee have also agreed to work together to address workforce issues as part of the contract. GP representatives have repeatedly warned that general practice is facing a “workforce crisis”.  

The bodies will also have a “broader strategic discussion” about primary care estates and transferring care into community settings.

Other measures introduced under the contract include a 15 per cent reduction to seniority payments, which are designed to reward GPs’ experience.

Patients will be given greater online access to their medical records and greater availability of online appointments.

Some members of the armed forces who are at home for extended periods of time will be allowed to register with a GP for up to two years, compared to the current three month limit.

All practices will be contractually obliged to have a patient participation group and make “reasonable efforts” to ensure this group is representative of the practice population. They must all screen newly registered patients for signs of alcohol abuse.

Stephen Golledge, lead negotiator the NHS Employers, said he was “pleased” that an agreement had been reached before the end of September.

“This will give GPs and their staff time to prepare for the changes which commence in April 2015,” he said.

“The agreed changes will deliver improved care for patients and should further strengthen their relationship with GPs.”

Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS England’s director of commissioning operations, said:  “Our vision is to see general practice play an even stronger role at the heart of local communities, offering more joined up and proactive care for patients. This is vital in addressing the rising demands on NHS services.  

“Today’s contract changes recognise that and most importantly, are aimed at improving care for patients.”

Committee chair Chaand Nagpaul said: “Now that we have agreed a contract for next year, we need to work together to focus on solutions for both the short and longer term to ensure that general practice can deliver on the ever increasing demand and provide the care which patients deserve.”

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