How general practice is funded in the United Kingdom

David P Weller and Alan Maynard
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb06188.x
Published online: 19 July 2004

The National Health Service (NHS) has undergone fundamental reform since 1948, but the fabric of UK general practice remains more or less intact. Fundholding was probably the most significant change in financial arrangements (Box). Essentially, this was an experiment for the NHS to contain costs, stimulate competition and bring resource allocation decisions closer to the patient — fundholding general practitioners assumed significant roles in local healthcare economies. Nevertheless, there was much debate over whether it was equitable. Many saw it as a basis for partnerships with the private sector and fragmentation of the healthcare service.1 Others showed that it reduced non-emergency medical admissions.2

  • David P Weller1
  • Alan Maynard2

  • 1 Division of Community Health Sciences: General Practice Section, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
  • 2 Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK.



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