GP funding in the UK rises by 4.36%

GP funding in the UK rises by 4.36%

GP funding in the UK rises by 4.36% but is still just 8.1% of the total NHS spend

GP funding in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland increased in 2015/16, with new data revealing England received the largest increase at 4.67%. However, the data also confirmed that GP funding was only 8.1% of total NHS spending, being a decrease from 10% in 2004/05.

Figures released by NHS Digital shown total funding in England increased from £9.03bn in 2014/15 to £9.45bn in 2015/16. Elsewhere in the UK, Northern Ireland saw the second highest increase in funding with a total of £267m, being an increase of 4.52% from 2014/15.

Scotland and Wales saw the lowest increases in the UK, with Wales recording an increase in GP funding of 2.15% to £488m and finally Scotland with a rise of 1.53% to £822m.

Scott Sanderson, GP specialist at Hawsons, had this to say about the funding increase: “The funding increases are welcomed by the sector and is undoubtedly some positive news for practices. We have commented on numerous occasions about about the growing financial pressures practices are facing and what it may mean for the future of general practice, with increasing patient numbers, succession issues and rising costs – are the funding increases enough?”

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that general practices had “suffered from a decade of underinvestment with the proportion of funding GP services receive dropping as a proportion of the NHS budget from 10% in 2004/05 to 8.1% today.”

Dr Nagpaul continued: “This is despite an unprecedented surge in pressure on GP practices,’ Dr Nagpaul said, ‘with rocketing demand, especially from an older population with complex needs, widespread staff shortages and more care being moved from secondary care into the community. In this worsening climate, many practices are facing a disastrous financial future, with more than 300 GP practices in England recently telling the BMA they are potentially facing closure.”

“There are signs that the proportion of funding is beginning in a small scale to increase, however this does not match the relentless expansion in workload and activity in GP surgeries which has left many without the necessary resources to sustain an effective service to patients. Much of the funding increase recorded in this report derive from one off payments from the PM Challenge Fund and other pilots.

Scott Sanderson

Scott Sanderson Partner

Scott Sanderson began his career with Hawsons and trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 2015, specialising in the healthcare sector and small businesses. For more details and advice, please contact Scott on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]

GMS and PMS contract funding gap falls by nearly 40%

GMS and PMS contract funding gap falls by nearly 40%

GMS and PMS contract funding gap falls be nearly 40%

Following on from our article on ‘What the PMS funding changes mean for your practice‘, official NHS data has revealed that the funding gap between GMS and PMS practices has fallen by nearly 40% in 2015/16 as PMS reviews cut funding from locally negotiated contracts.

Data from NHS Digital has revealed that GP practices across all contract types saw an increase of £1.53 per patient from £141.09 in 2014/15, resulting in an average of £142.62 per patient in 2015/16.

Furthermore, GMS practices saw an average funding per patient at £140.13, PMS practices funding per patient was £144.32 and APMS practices at £184.10.

The funding gap between GMS and PMS practices has seen a 38% decrease to £4.19 in 2015/16. This is down from 2014/15 when PMS practices received £6.79 more on average per patient than GMS.

Funding cuts to PMS practices has reflected the drive across England to equalise the funding across the two contract streams through waves of PMS reviews.

A significant number of GP practices, as expected, have been converting from PMS contracts to GMS contracts. A reduction in practice numbers suggests that approximately 125 practices have either closed or merged, according to data released by NHS Digital.

The data also released figures that showed the number of PMS practices fell from 3,190 in 2014/15 to 2,653 in 2015/16, while GMS practices contracts increased in 2015/16 to 4,892, up from 4,480 the previous year.

Scott Sanderson, GP specialist at Hawsons, had this to say: “The funding gap between GMS and PMS contracts, it would appear, has long been on the governments agenda to equalise equitable funding across general practice, and the statistics released by NHS Digital will not come as a surprise to partners or practice managers in the sector. Nevertheless, these funding changes will no doubt have significant impact on the financial stability of many current or former PMS practices.”

Scott Sanderson

Scott Sanderson Partner

Scott Sanderson began his career with Hawsons and trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 2015, specialising in the healthcare sector and small businesses. For more details and advice, please contact Scott on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]

5.2% reported increase in care home fees

5.2% reported increase in care home fees

5.2% reported increase in care home fees

Care home fees have seen a substantial increase, rising by over £1,500 over the past year, according to national provider Prestige Nursing Care. This years growth rate is the largest since the company began collecting data four years ago, and the annual growth rate has more than doubled from previous years.

In 2012, the annual shortfall between the cost of care homes and pensioner income was at £14,196. However, four years later, this number has increased by 16% and now sits at almost £16,500 (£317 p/w), making the total cost of care homes per year total 114% of the average pensioners income after tax.

London, for the first time, has overtaken the East of England with the cost of care homes averaging almost £40,000 per year. The East of England recorded average costs of £37,908 in the last year, with London seeing the biggest increase in care costs annually in any UK region totalling 19%.

The cost of living in London is extremely high as it is, so although there has been a 2.9% rise in basic state pension in the last year, that does not amount to the increase in care home costs that service users now face.

However, the East of England still remains the the region with the highest gap between care cost and income, seeing a £4,004 (21%) increase amounting to £23,828 in the last year.

With the shortfall being rather high, there is, however, potential that your city’s Council, depending on your circumstances and the Councils funding, for the council to make up for that shortfall and meet the price of the care home. As stated, this depends on personal circumstances and funding.

Scott Sanderson, Partner at Hawsons and care home specialist, had this to say: “Whilst the headline focuses on an increase in income levels being reported nationally on care fees in truth the increases are not, in real terms, keeping up with the increasing expenses operators are faced with. The introduction of the National Living Wage and Auto Enrolment for pensions, rising utility costs, the apprenticeship levy, to name a few – the increase in care fees is very much needed within the sector.”

More from our care sector experts

You can also find all of our latest care sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Scott Sanderson

Scott Sanderson Partner

Scott Sanderson began his career with Hawsons and trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 2015, specialising in the healthcare sector and small businesses. For more details and advice, please contact Scott on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]

Grants for food and drink manufacturers in the East Midlands

Grants for food and drink manufacturers in the East Midlands

Grants for food and drink manufacturers have been made available by ‘The Food and Drink Forum’ along with the FEAST project. ‘The Food and Drink Forum’ has secured funding for the next three years which offers a range of useful services.

What are these services?

There are a total of five services on offer, and these are:

Grant Funding

The grant funding enables food and drink manufacturers to claim a minimum spend of £2,500 and a maximum of £80,000. This allows them to purchase new equipment to grow as a business and create new jobs.

Technical Support

The Food and Drink Forum’s technical team offer two days of free technical support to eligible businesses. These industry experts offer a range of support from shelf life extension to factory layout, along with much more.

Business Mentoring

Industry experts are keen to share their experience in running food and drink manufacturing businesses, and this will be fully subsidised for eligible businesses and they will also receive mentoring in any aspect of the business.

Technical Apprentices

Technical apprentices will be made available by the Forum in order to bridge the skills gap in the sector. They will be trained by the Forum’s team of technical experts and will be employed by the Forum at no extra cost to the business, as well as the apprentices gaining hands on experience in this work placement.

Industry Events

Throughout the course of the project, The Food and Drink Forum will host a number of events where like-minded people in the industry can share experience and knowledge.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the funding by the FEAST project, businesses must be:

  • A food and drink manufacturer
  • Based in D2N2, NEP or SEMLEP Areas
  • An SME Business (Small/Medium Enterprise) – THIS ONLY APPLIES FOR ACCESSING GRANT FUNDING

The eligible are areas are:

  • Amber Valley Borough
  • Bolsover District
  • Chesterfield Borough
  • Derby City
  • Derbyshire County
  • Derbyshire Dales District
  • Erewash Borough
  • High Peak Borough
  • North East Derbyshire District
  • South Derbyshire District
  • Ashfield District
  • Bassetlaw District
  • Broxtowe District
  • Gedling Borough
  • Mansfield District
  • Newark and Sherwood District
  • Nottingham City
  • Nottinghamshire County
  • Rushciffle Borough
  • Daventry District
  • Kettering Borough
  • Corby Borough
  • East Northamptonshire District
  • Northampton Borough
  • Northamptonshire County
  • South Northants District
  • Aylesbury Vale District
  • Bedford Borough
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Cherwell District
  • Luton Borough
  • Milton Keynes

For further information, please visit: foodanddrinkforum.co.uk/web/xfdf/feast.cfm or contact us at [email protected].

David Owens has extensive knowledge of the issues that impact on the legal and transport and logistics sectors. David became a Partner in 2015 and acts for a large number of our clients, encompassing sole traders, partnerships and audit clients. For more information, please contact David on [email protected] or 01604 645 600.

Paul Wormald is a partner at Hawsons, working in the Doncaster office. He worked previously with two national firms of Chartered Accountants prior to joining Hawsons in 2001. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article, please contact Paul on [email protected] or 01302 367 262.[/author_info]

Chris Hill Senior Partner

Chris Hill acts as commercial partner for both corporate and non-corporate clients and has worked for Hawsons throughout his career. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article, please contact Chris on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.

Avoiding Grant Gremlins

Avoiding Grant Gremlins

Avoiding Grant Gremlins 

Grant audits and examinations can be highly technical, specialised, and subject to very detailed reporting requirements and specified work programmes. Below we highlight 6 practical points to help you avoid those ‘Grant Gremlins’ that can cause hold ups in reporting back to issuing bodies, or worse still, lead to grant monies being clawed back.

1. Consider your contract

It is imperative you read over the agreement thoroughly, including any annexes to establish the following:

  • Criteria for claiming expenditure:

Usually there is specific guidance as to what expenditure can or cannot be claimed under the agreement. Understanding this at an early stage can help avoid errors or reclaims, once monitoring reports are put together.

  • Reporting requirements:

The grant terms should also stipulate what type of examination is required by the issuing body – this will have a bearing on the likely costs of the examination as the level of detail required will vary from grant to grant. The terms will also outline deadlines by which any reports should be submitted to the issuing body, and the form of that report.

2. Engage early with your examiner

It is important to sit down with whoever is to carry out the audit or examination. This will make sure that three things happen, these are:

  • To help hit deadlines
  • To control the cost of the examination
  • And finally, to identify the information that will be required for the exercise.

At Hawsons, we will always go through these steps as it will determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit.

3. Agree assignment timelines

As mentioned already, grant issuing bodies have deadlines for reports to be submitted to them.

Failure to comply with these can cause monies to be clawed back, or hinder future applications for funding. Therefore, adhering to these deadlines is crucial.

Having milestones and target dates for the provision of information by the grantee to the examiner helps with hitting these deadlines, and keeps the cost of the examination under control.

We understand that at times, more pressing issues within an organisation can detract from the priority given to dealing with grant audits, and that some flexibility is sometimes required in the process. However, having target times in place at least gives an initial focus to the exercise.

4. Common queries

Whilst the work required on individual grants can be very bespoke, there are common themes that appear and common items of expenditure that require examining:

  • Payroll costs – more often than not, the auditor will need to look at the component parts of personnel costs, so a review of payroll records, time records, and employment contracts are common.
  • Direct third party costs – reviews of invoices, authorisation processes for expenditure, and tendering exercises are also frequent features of grant audits.
  • Indirect third party costs – where indirect costs are eligible under a grant agreement, the auditor should be looking at the calculations of how these have been allocated to a project and the justifications for inclusion, so having these available is going to help the audit process.
  • Evidence of payment – often grants relate to levels of expenditure defrayed in a period, so having evidence of funds being paid out is crucial.

5. Communication at completion

Once the main body of the work is complete, an efficient, effective completion and feedback process can help bring the exercise to a timely close with an accurate and agreed report being submitted to the issuing body.

Whenever we act as examiner on a grant we agree the following with you:

  • The form of the report – making sure that it complies with the requirements of the issuing body;
  • The findings that the report contains – these have to be accurately reported, but we do not want nasty surprise for our clients, so these are agreed with you ahead of submission.
  • Final submission – making sure that this is done on time, and in the manner required by the issuing body.

6. Action on errors

  • They can happen – Inevitably, errors in claims can occur, but this is not the end of the world.
  • They should be reported – whilst we have a professional duty to report errors in accordance with the guidelines of the grant, the way in which this is done should be agreed before the report is submitted.
  • They can be adjusted – often claims that have been submitted can be adjusted for errors discovered during the monitoring process.

At Hawsons, we have a depth of experience of dealing with grant audits and examinations in the transport sector. We always aim to take a proactive and organised approach to our work in this area to ensure that the grant recipient meets their reporting requirements, in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Paul Wormald is a partner at Hawsons, working in the Doncaster office. He worked previously with two national firms of Chartered Accountants prior to joining Hawsons in 2001. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article, please contact Paul on [email protected] or 01302 367 262.[/author_info]