NHS England has confirmed that a new GP funding formula will not be sought before 1 April 2018 despite expectations that it would inform the 2017-18 GP contract
The review of the current Carr-Hill funding formula for GPs has been under way since 2011 and in March, former health minister Alastair Burt said it was expected that the review would inform the 2017-18 GP contract.
However, in a joint statement on Tuesday, NHS England and the British Medical Association said they “will not seek to implement any changes to the funding formula before 1 April 2018”.
“We believe that this timescale will allow time for better forward planning by practices, better engagement with the profession, and patient involvement, if this is required,” the statement added.
NHS England also said it will be publishing guidance for clinical commissioning groups on how to commission for “university practices, unavoidably small or isolated practices, and practices with a significant proportion of the patient list who cannot communicate in English”. It is unclear when the guidance will be published.
The guidance is intended to address a requirement – set out in the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice report – that funding allocations should better support “practices serving atypical populations”.
The statement said: “It is recognised that, due to the wide diversity of populations served by GP practices, a national formula will never be able to accommodate the workload needs of all practices.
“We know that a number of practices provide services to patient populations that have characteristics that affect the practice’s costs or workload in a way that cannot be captured through a formula.
“Therefore, in parallel to the development of the new national funding formula, we are in the process of developing national guidance for commissioners which will focus on three such population types.
“This builds on the proposal in the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice that practices serving atypical populations should be supported through bespoke arrangements. These are: university practices, unavoidably small and isolated practices, and practices with a significant proportion of the patient list who cannot communicate in English.”