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There are different contracting methods for general practice. This includes the national negotiated General Medical Services (GMS) contract, used by the majority of GP practices. Practices may also use locally negotiated contracts to provide flexibility in service provision – the Personal Medical Services (PMS) and Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contracts.

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View (October 2014) committed the NHS to additional investment in general practice, including a £1 billion Primary Care Infrastructure Fund. £550 million was also announced in March 2015 to improve access to GPs, modernise GP surgeries and improve out-of-hospital care.

In April 2016, NHS England published the General Practice Forward View – its five year plan for general practice. The Forward View sets objectives to be achieved by 2020/21 in the following areas: Investment; workforce; workload; practice infrastructure; and care redesign. It includes a commitment to introduce an additional 5,000 doctors into general practice by 2020. The plan is supported by additional investment of £2.4 billion a year by 2020/21.

There have been initiatives to improve access to GP services. The Government’s Mandate to NHS England 2018-19 instructed NHS England to ensure that everyone has access to weekend and evening routine GP appointments by 1 October 2018. The Government has confirmed there are no plans to reintroduce a maximum waiting time target for GP appointments.

In October 2017, the Health Secretary announced a new state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice, to address concerns about the rising cost of indemnity against clinical negligence. This will come into force from April 2019.

This briefing applies to England only.

[1]     Health and Social Care Information Centre, Primary Care

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