General practices could lose £33million in 2016/17, and £760million by 2020, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has found.
The organisation analysed CCG budgets, finding that they are on track to underspend their funding allocation on general practice by £33million in the current financial year. It also found that few of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Footprints (STPs) have plans to boost investment in general practice.
‘If STP plans fail to deliver the funding for general practice – from the Sustainability and Transformation Fund – then the family doctor service stands to lose up to £760million in 2020/21,’ said Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP. ‘So, I call on Simon Stevens to require all STPs to publish their financial plans, and to make crystal clear that unless they commit to invest more in general practice, through the Sustainability and Transformation Fund, their plans will be rejected and responsibility for the Fund regionally will be withheld from the non-compliant STPs.’
NHS England has stated that the 44 STPs spend between 15 and 20% of their budget in each region on primary care and general practice services in 2020/21. According to the RCGP, if all STPs used 20% of the budget for primary care and general practice in each region in the 2020/21 financial year this would equate to a £760million investment into primary care services.
‘General practice is at breaking point. Many local GP surgeries are struggling to provide even basic care to their patients as they face a climate of shrinking budgets, staff shortages and rising workload,’ said Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s GP committee chair. ‘The government made clear promises in its recently announced General Practice Forward View to properly invest in GP services after a decade of neglect. It is vital that the government acts to deliver on its pledges, and ensures that patients can receive safe, timely and quality care from their GP surgery.’