The GP Contract

This page explains what the GP Contract is, how it affects GPs, and how it links with Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS).

What is the GP Contract

According to NHS England, ‘every individual or partnership of GPs must hold an NHS GP contract to run an NHS commissioned general practice.’ A GP contract sets out the mandatory requirements and services for all general practices.

There are three types of contract arrangements in England:

General Medical Services (GMS) which is the national standard GP contract to deliver core services. The GMS contract is used by each commissioner to contract general practice services in a geographical area.

Personal Medical Services (PMS) is subject to local variations and is negotiated and agreed by each commissioner and practice/s.

Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) is a framework that allows organisations who are not a general practice, such as private or third sector providers, to provide primary care services beyond the GMS delivered by the general practice.

What the GP Contract means for GP practices

The GP contract sets out:

  • the geographical area the practice will cover
  • the requirements for a list of patients
  • the essential medical services it must provide to patients
  • the standards for premises and the workforce
  • the requirements for inspection and oversight
  • the expectations for public and patient involvement
  • key roles and responsibilities.

A GP contract also sets out optional agreements to deliver services in return for additional payments. These include the nationally negotiated Direct Enhanced Services (DES).

DES focuses on clinical indicators which support national priorities including flu vaccinations, learning disability health checks, early cancer diagnosis and 2-week access indicator, to support patient access and experience.

Commissioners must offer DES to all GP practices through Primary Care Networks (PCNs) of which most, but not all, GP practices are a member. A PCN is a group of GP practices who work together with other local health and social care organisations to integrate services for their local population.

The GP Contract and CQRS

The Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) is an approval, reporting and payments system for GP practices. It helps practices to track, monitor and declare achievement for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), DES, and Vaccination and Immunisation (V&I) programmes. [source NHS Digital]. Since 1 November 2020, CQRS has been managed by the NHS Commissioning Support Units.

CQRS National facilitates payments in support of the GP contract and CQRS Local facilitates payments in support of locally enhanced schemes (LES) and local incentive schemes (LIS). These supplement core services offered by GP practices to meet local population needs and priorities, which are commissioned by Integrated Care Boards (ICBs).

CQRS is a web-based portal that enables providers and commissioners to manage local claims online. It streamlines the process of provider claims against local schemes, reduces administrative time and ensures claims are visible within a secure platform.

Read more about the benefits of CQRS Local.