Spending on general practice increased by a minuscule amount last year, according to official figures.
GP leaders said they showed how spending on primary care had failed to keep pace with patient demand.The NHS Digital figures showed the average payment per registered patient in the year from 2017/18 was £153.77. This compared with £152.81 the previous year – an increase of 0.6%.
Overall spending reach £10.5 billion, an increase of 1.4%. Out of this money, some £809 million was for premises payments.
British Medical Association GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: “For too long investment has not kept up with the demands being placed on general practice, and the marginal increase in the year up to April this year – itself far smaller than in previous years – is completely inadequate. Over the same time period the number of patients registered at practices in England went up by more than 700,000 and we lost more than 440 full-time equivalent GPs – meaning doctors and their teams are being stretched to their limits.
He added: “What is further frustrating is that the data does not accurately represent the money reaching practices and patients. Rather, it includes other elements such as drug reimbursement and services in hospitals – and such potentially misleading information is not helpful at all.”
Dr Vautrey said an additional £2.8 billion is due to be added to practice budgets over the next five years as a result of this year’s contract agreement.