Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
This year marks the start of an ambitious programme of reform to the GMS contract. This has been marked by a new approach managed through the GMS Contract Oversight Group and operated through a tripartite agreement, including representatives from Welsh Government, General Practitioners Committee (GPC) Wales and NHS Wales. The reform programme draws on the recommendations of the recent Parliamentary Review, and aligns with those important drivers in Taking Wales Forward and Prosperity for All.
I am pleased to announce that the negotiations for the 2018/2019 General Medical Services (GMS) contract were concluded by the end of February 2018. The following agreements have been reached for the 2018/2019 contracting year:
- An uplift of 1% for pay and a 1.4% increase for general expenses (excluding indemnity, which is being treated separately). The increase will be applied to global sum and the enhanced service for vaccinations and immunisations.
- An uplift for professional indemnity, recognising the specific rises being seen in the indemnity market as a result of the change in discount rates announced by the Lord Chancellor.
Coupled with the financial changes, the following activities have also been agreed to improve the provision of General Medical Services for 2018/2019:
- Improved baseline provision of Welsh Language
- Evaluation of Retainer and Returner schemes
- Improved mentoring and coaching arrangements for GPs
- Review recruitment offering to GPs
- Workload and system change, improving the interface between primary and secondary care
- Agreed direction on improved access to and from services
- Exploring removal of indemnity barrier for recently retired GPs
- Reduced Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) to alleviate workload pressures
- Extension of influenza outbreak prescribing Direct Enhanced Service (DES)
- Commitment to monitor impact of IT migration, and
- Commitment to consider General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) alongside improved access to data.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues in NHS Wales and GPC Wales for their ongoing engagement and commitment to this programme of reform. While progress has been made with a number of items, there is still a substantive body of work to undertake for the forthcoming year. Nevertheless, this new approach provides us with the platform to reform the existing contract, tackle issues within the system and take forward those commitments that this Government has set out in Taking Wales Forward and Prosperity for All.