• Spending on general practice grew by more than 3 per cent in 2016-17
  • New figures show growth in spending on GPs in cash terms was slightly higher than on NHS trusts
  • GPs saw big increase in spending on IT

NHS spending on general practice rose by more than 3 per cent in real terms over 2016-17 compared to the previous year, new data shows.

The figures, released today by NHS Digital, shows overall expenditure on general practice in 2016-17 was £10.2bn, which represents real terms growth of 3.17 per cent on 2015-16 when the £9.8bn was spent.

This is a 5 per cent growth in cash terms which compares to a 4.3 per cent increase in spending on NHS trusts in 2016-17. 

HSJ reported last month that commissioners underspent on primary care budgets by £190m in 2016-17, which helped offset deficits in the provider sector.

In 2016, NHS England published its Five Year Forward View for General Practice in which it promised to increase investment in the sector by £2.4bn a year by 2020.

So far, £64m has been spent from forward view programme money, the data shows, while GPs received £13m in investment from the new care models programme last year.

One of the biggest increases in investment in general practice was on IT, which grew from £2m in 2015-16 to almost £4m in 2017-16.

This is separate to the £1bn estates and technology transformation programme, of which £13m was invested over 2016-17.

Provisional data shows local authority spending on public health related to general practice dropped by 10 per cent last year.

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