• NHS England publishes 2017-18 GP contract
  • GPs should not close during core hours under new contract rules
  • Practices to receive £157m to implement new care measures for frail and elderly patients
  • New contract strengths requirement for GPs to identify if overseas patients are elgible for NHS care

GP practices that close during core hours will be cut off from receiving extra funding under new contract rules.

Under the 2017-18 contract, GPs have been told “practices which regularly close for mornings or afternoons on a week day will lose their eligibility for the current extended hours scheme”.

Details of the new contract, published today by NHS England, also revealed that £157m “from a previous earmarked scheme” will be transferred in to core contract funding, to implement new care measures for frail and elderly patients.

This is in addition to £238m going into core funding for the 2017-18 contract. This is £18m higher than the previous year’s contract.

NHS England added that the new contract will be “strengthening requirements” for GP practices to help determine overseas patients’ eligibility for NHS care.

In a statement, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “We’re now turning the corner on a decade of underinvestment in GP services, but with new cash clearly tied to new ways of working that both improve patient care and support family doctors.

“While this new national contract is just one piece of the jigsaw, it’s another concrete step towards more convenient appointments for patients and more time for GPs to look after frail older people.”

A spokesman from the British Medical Association said: ”We have agreed that changes to the qualifying criteria for the extended hours direct enhanced services (DES) will be implemented from October 2017.

“This means that practices who regularly close for a half day, on a weekly basis, will not ordinarily qualify for the DES. There may be exceptions to this – for example, where it is locally agreed for branch sites or small rural practices to close with appropriate cover remaining in place.

“This will not impact those practices that close in order for their staff to take part in monthly training activities, or those that make minor locally agreed adjustments to their opening hours at the beginning or the end of the day.”