General Practitioners: Rural Areas

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 13th February 2019.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Conservative, Ribble Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many rural GP practices were closed by the NHS in 2017.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Conservative, Ribble Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to limit the number of rural GP practices that close each year.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Conservative, Ribble Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average cost per year of running a rural GP practice is.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Data is not held centrally on the average cost per year of running a rural general practitioner (GP) practice.

NHS England contracts for the provision of general practice services in England with GP contractors who are responsible for running their practices and meeting the costs of doing so.

The latest ‘NHS Payments to general practice – England’ report published in December 2018, covering the 2017/18 financial year, provides information on National Health Service payments to individual providers of general practice services in England. The report is available from the NHS Digital website at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-payments-to-general-practice/england-2017-18

In 2017/18, there were 1,193 practices with a ‘rural’ indicator and these received total payments of £1,738,904,818, an average payment of £1,457,590 per rural practice.

NHS England has not conducted an analysis of information held on practice closures to distinguish between urban and rural practice closures.

NHS England and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee have agreed a five-year GP contract framework from 2019/20 which marks some of the biggest general practice contract changes in over a decade and will be essential to deliver the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan through strong general practice services. The contract increases investment and more certainty around funding and looks to reduce pressure and stabilise general practice. It will ensure general practice plays a leading role in every Primary Care Network which will include bigger teams of health professionals working together in local communities. It will mean much closer working between networks and their Integrated Care System. This builds on the General Practice Forward View commitments which included dedicated £40 million support programme for struggling practices to help them become more resilient – with over 3,000 packages of support delivered in 2017/18.

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