Response to the 2024/25 GP contract announcement

Responding to the announcement by NHS England of the 2024/25 GP contract, Andrew Pow, board member of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants said:

“This is a disappointing announcement and the third year running when uplifts in the value of the GP contract have been significantly below inflation. While the contract is based on an assumption of 2% pay growth for staff, practices face significantly higher wage growth from April as a result of the near 10% increase in the minimum wage. This will also filter through to other pay bands.

“The contract uplift allows for inflation at 1.68%, yet inflation is running at 4% in the economy. While energy costs may be on a downward trajectory and loan interest costs have hopefully flatlined, these costs remain far higher than they were a couple of years ago and were not funded in contract uplifts in the previous two years.

“All of this means practices will need to look carefully at staffing costs and maximise the use of the ARRS scheme. In many cases the partners will have to consider reducing their drawings.

“There is some positive news. From a cashflow perspective more of the QOF will be paid in year and changes to the Capacity and Access Payment may also give a little respite. Suspending and protecting income for 32 of the 76 QOF indicators may also help with workloads. PCNs have also been given more flexibility in how to allocate funding. It will be essential for practices to work closely with their PCNs to optimise the use of these resources.

“A carrot is dangled with the prospect of a further uplift following the DDRB review but that will take some time. In a year of a general election this could be viewed as kicking the can down the road.”