The new GP contract comes into effect on 1 April. BBC News Online outlines the main 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
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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