GMS Contract Negotiations 2018/19 – what you need to know

The outcome of the latest round of the GMS Contract negotiations for 2018/19 between NHS Employers and the General Practitioners Committee was published by NHS England recently (Gateway Reference 07813).

No significant changes this year, but there are a few items of note:

  • A non-recurrent investment of £60 million has been included to help practices deal with increased indemnity costs for 2017/18;
  • An initial implementation phase (a limited selection of practices at this stage) for the roll-out of the Electronic Prescription Service;
  • A push to achieve near 100% delivery of the NHS e-Referral Service. A non-recurrent investment of £10 million for 2018/19 will be distributed directly to practices based on weighted patient numbers to support this;
  • An uplift of the maximum Locum reimbursement by 1% and a change to allow the employment of a salaried GP on a fixed term contract to provide parental and sick leave cover. This is likely to be an attractive option and could see Practices working together to jointly employ Salaried GPs to provide an alternative to the traditional locum provision. Practices should also consider updating their Partnership Agreements to provide for the Parental and Sick Leave reimbursements under the NHS England Protocol, as these payments will supersede the arrangements in most Partnership Agreements;
  • A prohibition on NHS commissioned practices from advertising private providers of GP services which the practices should be providing free of charge;
  • An agreement between the GPC and NHSE on “the importance of providing support to practices that wish to develop integrated and at-scale models of primary care”, although what that support is and precisely where the funding will come from for this support is not made clear;
  • The identification of the most effective way of introducing an appropriate system in general practice to comply with the “Freedom to Speak Up in Primary Care” Guidance from NHSE;
  • An intention to “take urgent steps to reduce the administrative burden in general practice”;
  • A recognition of a need to undertake a review of premises used to provide primary medical care, in the context of the changes agreed to the 2013 Premises Costs Directions.

So, like the budget, the devil will be in the detail and we will keep a watching brief and update you on these issues as soon as we have that detail.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss our work with primary care practices and organisations.