Intended for healthcare professionals


New formula for GP prescribing budgets

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 29 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:266

General practitioners in England need to understand its implications

  1. Azeem Majeed, senior lecturer in general practice (
  1. School of Public Policy, University College London, London WC1H 9EZ

    General practice pp 284,288

    In today's BMJ Rice and colleagues describe the derivation of a formula for allocating prescribing budgets to health authorities and primary care groups in England (p 284).1 The formula is based on the most comprehensive analysis of general practice prescribing costs so far and—despite criticisms such as those outlined by Baines et al on p 2882—is likely to be the best available for the foreseeable future. The new formula will be used to help set target allocations and has several important implications.

    Firstly, the new formula represents a major change in the methods used to allocate NHS budgets. The various formulas currently used have four main components: a population count; weightings for age and sex;measures of health need; and a component for unavoidable factors. The most important is the population count. Traditionally the population counts have been the estimated resident population for each health authority. The new formula for prescribing budgets will use general practice lists …

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