An LMC is demanding a 28% uplift in payments for its local enhanced services from its local ICBs as GP practices are facing instability due to inflation and financial pressures.
Dr Adam Janjua, chief executive officer at Lancashire and Cumbria LMC, wrote to Lancashire and South Cumbria and North East and North Cumbria ICBs explaining that over the past few years there has been a ‘noticeable discrepancy’ between the annual increments in the Quality Contract and Local Enhanced Service (LES/LIS) payments and the rate of inflation.
He said this has caused GP practices to face financial challenges that could impact the standards of care provided and that the uplift is needed to ‘safeguard the quality of care provided by our GP practices’.
He said: ‘There have been no uplifts at all for well over six years. Since 2019, staff wages have increased by almost 30% along with a sharp increase in practice expenses.
‘As a result, our practices have faced financial challenges that hinder our ability to maintain the high standards of care that our patients deserve.’
Dr Janjua added that it is ‘essential’ to acknowledge the ‘invaluable’ contribution made by GP practices to the healthcare system in Lancashire and Cumbria.
‘Our dedicated healthcare professionals work tirelessly to provide comprehensive, patient-centred care to our community, often going above and beyond to meet the healthcare needs of our patients.
‘To address this issue and ensure the sustainability of our GP practices, we respectfully request that the ICB consider a 28% uplift in the Quality Contract and LES/LIS payments backdated to April 2023,’ the letter added.
It said that increment is proposed to compensate for the historical lack of yearly adjustments to keep pace with inflation and ‘to support the long-term viability of our local healthcare services’, adding: ‘We understand that these are challenging times for the healthcare system, but we believe that this increase is a necessary step to safeguard the quality of care provided by our GP practices.’
Peter Tinson, director of Primary Care at Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, told our sister title Pulse that the ICB recognises the pressures faced by general practice staff and ‘is grateful for their continued hard work and commitment to their patients’.
He said: ‘We have recently received correspondence from the LMC regarding inflationary uplifts applied to locally commissioned services by both the ICB this year and by predecessor organisations in previous years.
‘The ICB acknowledges the inflationary pressures being experienced by all providers, including general practices, and will shortly respond to the LMC’s request. The ICB wishes to ensure that general practice is both sustainable and resilient.’
Ed Tallis, local director at North East and North Cumbria ICB, told Pulse: ‘We are very aware that our practices continue to work extremely hard under significant pressure. As commissioners and as patients we are grateful for the dedication, care and commitment they show every day.
‘We have tried to recognise this in the updated 2023-4 local incentive scheme, as far as possible within the resources available to us.
‘The scheme was discussed and agreed with the LMC earlier this year and includes an increased “workload agreement” payment recognising the growing demand being placed on practices.
‘We work closely with the LMC in North Cumbria and will discuss their concerns further over the coming weeks.’
General practice will not receive any funding from the Government’s newly announced £200m pot aimed at easing NHS winter pressures.
At the beginning of the month, NHS England said that GP practices will not be fully paid for the backdated uplift to the global sum until November.
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.