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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 09:18 GMT
GP Contract: At a glance
The new GP contract comes into effect on 1 April. BBC News Online outlines the main changes.

Day-to-day changes

  • GPs will no longer have to provide care to patients after their surgery closes

  • Primary care organisations will take over responsibility for providing out-of-hours care in the evenings and at weekends

  • GP surgeries will be open from 0800 to 1830 Monday to Friday - some may open longer and on Saturdays

  • GPs will be able to opt out of providing certain services, such as immunisation clinics or contraception, if they are overstretched

  • More GPs will be able to offer additional services, such as specialist clinics, normally only available in hospitals

  • Practices will be expected to employ additional nurses and other staff who will be used to free up GPs' time

    Financial changes

  • Spending on general practice will rise by 33% over the next three years, totalling 8bn by 2006

  • This is expected to lead to a "substantial" pay increase for GPs. If pay rises in line with the overall increase for primary care the average GP could earn 80,000 a year.

  • For the first time, a large proportion of GP pay will be linked to the quality of care they provide

  • The way money is allocated to primary care will change - in future, practices with the sickest patients will get the most money and money will be allocated per practice rather than per GP as at present

  • GPs will be able to apply for extra money available to fund more specialist services in primary care

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