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In addition, 28 practices have been identified that have no registered patients but who may nevertheless be continuing to provide primary medical care services to patients who are not registered with that practice.
Mr. Bradshaw: The 2007-08 national GP Patient Survey results were published on 16 July 2008, by the Information Centre for health and social care. The survey was conducted from January to March 2008 and shows improvements in patients experience of access during core general practitioner (GP) opening hours, but with more patients wanting to see a GP at convenient times, including, later in the evening or at weekends. This further confirms patient and public support for the Governments initiatives to secure additional and more flexible access to GP services.
Mr. Bradshaw: Assessments of general practitioner (GP) morale are carried out by independent bodies such as the British Medical Association, the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre and the UK Medical Careers Research Group. The results indicate that job satisfaction among general medical practitioners is higher than it was before the introduction of the new GP contract in 2004-05.
We have made three key commitments to improve patients access to general practitioner services: to extend the opening hours of existing general practitioner (GP) practices, securing at least 50 per cent. of practices delivering extended opening hours to their patients; to establish over 100 new GP practices in under-or poorly-served areas; and to develop 152 GP-led health centres, one in each primary care trust (PCT), open 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To achieve this, we have secured an agreement with the General Practitioners' Committee of the British Medical Association on extended opening, with investment of £158 million available to general practices; guaranteed additional
investment of £250 million to PCTs to provided additional general practitioner services and proposed a further investment of £50 million by PCTs to initiate further local improvements for patients in accessing local GP services.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to paragraph 4.16 of his Department's Primary Care Strategy, whether (a) GP practice boundaries and (b) closed patient lists will be phased out. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has no plans to change the regulations that set out the procedures that relate to either a contractor's practice boundaries or their ability to seek permission to close their patient lists. The Department will work with primary care trusts to ensure the current arrangements work better for patients.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to paragraph 4.16 of his Department's Primary Care Strategy, over what timescale he plans to remove the obstacles to people's choice of GP practices. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are supporting the local national health service to work with general practitioners (GPs) and other primary medical care providers to ensure the public have a greater and more informed choice of GP practice. The range of measures includes procuring new additional practices and services, expanding the capacity of existing GPs, making more information available to the public about the performance of providers, and delivering a fairer and more equitable funding system.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what ways he plans to distinguish more clearly between the (a) commissioning and (b) provider role of GP practices, as referred to on chapter 7.10 on page 52 of NHS Next Stage Review: Our vision for primary and community care; and when he plans to do so. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Practice-based commissioning has two elements, which when supported by appropriate governance arrangements, have the potential to improve-the range and quality of local services. Firstly, the multi-professional, collaborative work in commissioning better care for local populations. Secondly, the role of general practitioner practices in providing an enhanced range of services for their patients. For example by establishing a phlebotomy service in the practice so patients do not have to attend outpatients, or by employing an extra nurse to provide proactive care in the community in order to reduce the number of emergency referrals. The Department will provide further information on this later this summer as part of a package of measures to highlight the precise role and contribution of practice-based commissioning.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials had with Camden Primary Care Trust on the tendering
process on the alternative provider medical services contract to run Camden Road, Kings Cross and Brunswick Centre GP practices; 
(2) if he will call for a report from Camden Primary Care Trust on (a) the bids that were submitted, (b) the criteria used to select the successful bid, (c) the tendering process and timescale, (d) the bidder weighted score in each category and the overall total weighted score for each bid submitted and (e) the per patient cost estimates in each of the bids submitted, in respect of the alternative provider medical service contract to run Camden Road, Kings Cross and Brunswick Centre GP practices. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In March this year, I had a short conversation with the Chairman of Camden Primary Care Trust (PCT) in preparation for a local political meeting. During the conversation the Chairman briefly touched on the PCTs decision to award to United Healthcare Europe an Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract, for the management of the three GP practices. I understand that the PCT publicly announced this decision in January 2008.
The Department has not had any discussions with Camden Primary Care Trust (PCT) regarding the tendering process for the contract to run Camden Road, Kings Cross and Brunswick Centre general practitioner (GP) practices. The Department does not collect information on locally managed procurements outwith the current procurements of new GP practices and health centres. Therefore we have no plans to call for a report from Camden PCT.
It is for PCTs in conjunction with their strategic health authorities (SHAs) and other stakeholders to plan and commission services to meet the needs of their local populations. The hon. Member may therefore wish to raise his concerns with the chief executive of Camden PCT.
Mr. Bradshaw: The current general medical services (GMS) weighted capitation payment per registered patient is £54.72 but the protection of historic income by the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee means that most GMS practices receive more than this and there is wide variation in the payments that practices receive. If these protected payments were distributed fairly and equitably between GMS practices the average GMS weighted payment per patient nationally would be £66. In North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust the average GMS weighted capitation payments received by practices is £69. No information is held centrally on the level of similar payments made by primary care trust to PMS practices or other local contracted providers.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the effect on average levels of payment to GPs per registered patient of removing the minimum practice income guarantee. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Minimum Practice Income Guarantee is currently worth £325 million annually and is unevenly distributed between General Medical Services (GMS) practices on the basis of their historic income for core essential patient services. The table below sets out the distribution of additional payments being made to GMS practices in terms of £s per registered patient.
|Distribution of additional payments to GMS practices|
|Correction factor payment per patient (£)||Number of practices|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on the number of GP practices in Hemel Hempstead of the polyclinic proposed to be sited there; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) advises us it has no plans for a polyclinic in Hemel Hempstead. It does have proposals for a new general practitioner (GP)-led health centre to provide services in addition to existing GP surgeries and is currently considering the results of its recent consultation. The PCT advises that this will lead to an increase in capacity and additional choice for patients.
Mr. Bradshaw: NHS Employers are currently discussing with the British Medical Association's (BMA) General Practitioners Committee how best to achieve and implement a more equitable funding system for the provision of primary medical care services. These discussions include the possible timescale for phasing out the minimum practice income guarantee.
Mr. Bradshaw: Information on general practitioners earnings is collected annually as part of the GP Earnings and Expenses Enquiry and is based on general practitioners tax self-assessment returns to HM Revenue and Customs. Both part-time and full-time general practitioners make these returns and it is not possible to separate them out to calculate an average earnings figure for full-time general practitioners only.
The latest available information from the GP Earnings and Expenses Enquiry is for the financial year 2005-06 and was published in GP Earnings and Expenses Enquiry 2005/2006: Final Report on 19 March 2008 and is available at:
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to mandate the adoption of the Royal College of General Practitioners accreditation scheme for GP practices, as referred to on page 53 of High Quality Care for All, Cm 7432. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has no plans to make the Royal College of General Practitioners accreditation scheme mandatory. Following the completion of the pilot, working with the profession we will consider how to secure widespread take-up by all primary medical care contractors so as to drive up the quality of their organisation and services they provide to patients.
The consultative event held in September 2007, which preceded Lord Darzi's interim report, showed that many people sought the opportunity to access routine primary care from a GP in the evenings or at weekends.
Other surveys of the public carried out by Which? and other consumer representative organisations similarly show that patients want to have greater flexibility in opening times to be able to see a GP.
The 2008 GP Patient Survey results, carried out between January and March and published on 16 July 2008, showed that 18 per cent. of peopleas many as seven and a half million patients nationallywant to see improvements in the opening hours of their local
GP practice. This increase in dissatisfaction from the 2007 survey results reinforces the importance of primary care trusts working with local practices to deliver more flexible access for patients.
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