Official data has revealed that NHS England is ‘ahead of the target’ to increase GP funding, after an annual rise of £580 million last year.
The rise showed an increase of 3.9 per cent last year taking the total to £10.8bn in 2017/18. The increase marks the fifth consecutive increase to general practice funding and put it ahead on its target for general practice to be receiving £12bn a year by 2020.
NHS England’s acting director of primary care, Dr. Nikki Kanani said: “GPs are at the heart of the NHS and the sustained, and significant general practice funding increases in each of the past five years are helping general practice respond to the rapidly growing needs of an expanding and aging population.
“As part of the NHS long-term plan, we will be recruiting more trainee doctors, widening people’s access to appointments and continuing to integrate GP surgeries with mental health, community and hospital services.”
However, the British Medical Association (BMA) believes the figure actually translates to £10.2bn when excluding funding including drug reimbursements and GP’s in A&E departments.
Although still a rise on the previous year, the BMA want to see more done to increase the funding.
GP Committee chair Dr. Richard Vautrey said: “While it is positive to see an increase in investment, it is still not enough to ensure the sustainability of general practice and its capacity to meet the growing needs of patients.”
“Today’s real investment figure of £10.2bn represents 8.1 per cent of the NHS budget going to general practice – falling £3.6bn short of the BMA’s target of 11 per cent.”