latest health care news

17.08.16

Bespoke funding for ‘atypical’ GP practices confirmed as Carr-Hill formula delayed again

The Carr-Hill funding formula, which weights GP funding based on population characteristics to ensure a fair distribution, has once again been delayed and will not be modified before 1 April 2018, NHS England and the BMA have confirmed.

In a joint statement, the two bodies confirmed they would now “start the detailed negotiations” on the new funding formula, which has been under review since 2012 but has been pushed back every year.

They added that they would not be seeking to implement any changes to the formula as yet, despite former health minister Alistair Burt confirming in March that the revised formula would inform the 2017-18 GP contract subject to agreement with the GPC.

The statement said the move was designed to safeguard the financial stability of GP practices through a fairer distribution of funding.

“We are now modelling the impact the changes would have on practices in view of other funding flows that are already in train (such as the re-cycling of MPIG and seniority payments and PMS reviews for example),” they explained.

The bodies also recognised that a national formula would never be able to accommodate the workload needs of all practices “due to the wide diversity of populations served”, adding: “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.”

As a result, NHS England and the doctors’ union confirmed that in parallel to developing the new funding formula, they were also “in the process” of developing “bespoke arrangements” for GP practices serving atypical populations, such as university practices, rural practices and practices with a significant proportion of non-English speakers.

This builds on the proposal in the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice, the statement said. Published in January, the report originally demanded that practices serving atypical populations “should be supported through dedicated bespoke funding allocations”.

The statement continued: “This guidance will illustrate for commissioners the workload challenges that practices face and guide commissioners to relevant data sources or intelligence to assist them in making decisions regarding sustainable support.”

The delayed Carr-Hill funding formula was first adopted in 2004, with a review then launched in 2007 but whose findings were never implemented. The 2010 Coalition government later agreed to look at a fairer distribution of money to more deprived areas, with a technical group formed in 2012 to implement pledges. These were originally agreed for 2013-14, but have been postponed yearly ever since.

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