Pulse Intelligence is a new website from the Pulse editorial team that is designed to help you run your practice more efficiently and maximise profits. This new website, the first of its kind, offers guides and tips to highlight funding pots that you may not know about, worth in some cases tens of thousands of pounds. We tell you how you can access this funding with the minimum of fuss.
The home page and many of the different sections are personalised to your practice. Our team of data experts have been working with top primary care academics from the University of Manchester to match your practice to those with a similar profile. To do this, we have developed an algorithm that includes characteristics such as list size, patients’ age profile, deprivation, rurality and location. We have then analysed how your income compares with theirs, to highlight areas where you may be missing out on funding. We also have a handy “key dates” planner, reminding you when you should be applying for certain pots of funding.
The website will offer potential solutions to your recruitment problems. We can’t magic new GPs, but we have been working with experts to look at the benefits and problems with hiring other staff to reduce your GPs’ workload, including costs.
Alongside this, the multi-award-winning Pulse news team will be carrying out more in-depth investigations and analyses so you can understand your finances better, while we offer numerous case studies to show how others have been able to improve the running of your practice.
The website is primarily for GP partners with an interest in the financial aspects of the practice, and practice managers. When you register with Pulse Intelligence, you will receive your own login for the whole practice, so any GP or member of staff will be able to access the website. Many of the tools we offer are personalised to your own practice. Using official NHS data, we have collected info on your NHS income, staffing, practice demographics to provide a whole picture of your practice’s finances.
The ‘Income’ dashboard is the central hub of the website. Through this dashboard, you can see the whole picture of your practice’s NHS income. The dashboard is personalised to your practice. We have analysed how much income your practice is receiving from up to 60 different funding pots. We have then compared your income with three practices of a similar profile, using the algorithm developed with researchers from the University of Manchester.
You will also see how your practice compares with other practices in your CCG, as well as the national average. Finally, the dashboard will show you how your income has increased or decreased from the previous year. We don’t just offer analysis of the data: for each of the funding pots, we offer a guidance article written by experts on how you can improve your funding.
We have developed a tool that allows you to compare your practice’s NHS income with any other practice in England. It covers up to 60 different funding streams. All you need to do is input the name of the practice you want to compare yourself with. Our tool will then allow you to pick what areas of funding you want to analyse. Once you have done this, the tool will do the rest, showing you how much you are receiving from that pot of funding. You can also look at data from previous years – meaning you can get an easy-to-use representation of how your own practice income has gone up or down over the years.
We have been working with primary care academics, experts and GP leaders to develop our Income tool.
This is intended to show you whether your practice is receiving similar funding to similar practices, practices within your CCG or the national average.
The tool uses raw official data from NHS Digital – ‘Payments to General Practice’ – which captures data paid directly to GP practices through ‘Open Exeter’ and the ‘Single Finance Environment system’ to cover local enhanced services payments.
This is publicly available data that can be found in Table 2 here. This is updated annually, usually around late September.
As part of this tool, you can compare yourself to ‘similar practices’ (see below), practices within your CCG, your 2017 income, the national average or the CCG average.
All the figures you see – except on the panel, which shows the total funding for your practice (see below) – follow this equation:
X*Z – Y*Z
X=Funding per patient in your practice
Y=Funding per patient in your chosen field (ie, national average/CCG average/similar practices/your 2017 funding)
Z=The number of patients in your practice
The reason behind this is that any comparison using total funding figures – ie, the overall figures listed by NHS Digital – would be skewed by the patient list size and would provide no meaningful comparison. By using your own patient list size, and creating an average comparator practice the same size as your own, it gives you an at-a-glance snapshot on whether your practice is earning what it can.
The panel, which you see when you are looking at the default ‘overall’ funding is data taken directly from NHS Digital. It shows exactly how much money you received from the NHS in the past financial year.
The lines represent categories of funding pots (see below for details).
We have highlighted the figure of your total funding minus premises, dispensing fees and locum reimbursements.
The reason for this is that the premises arrangements for each practice will overwhelmingly skew any figure. For example, it might include rent reimbursements, service fees, or even fees for renting out part of your premises to another NHS provider. As a result, this skews any useful comparison between practices.
Similarly, we have removed dispensing fees reimbursements from all comparison calculations, as these only apply to dispensing practices and these overwhelmingly skew the figures.
Locum reimbursements have been removed because these are a direct ‘in and out’ payment – they are a straight reimbursement when locums are necessary, and therefore cannot represent any profit for the practice.
We do understand that, for many other pots of funding, there are ‘in and out’ payments, or funding that is more applicable to certain types of practices.
However, we felt that there was value in including all other pots in funding for comparison between practices.
The left hand side of the Income page shows different funding groups. They incorporate the funding streams set out by NHS Digital. We have grouped these
This comprises the following NHS Digital funding pots: global sum, MPIG funding and PMS funding
The NHS Digital data has a £0 value under ‘Global sum’ for all PMS practices. Practices that receive higher MPIG payments have their core funding split across the MPIG and global sum funding by NHS Digital. As a result, it made sense to combine these pots of funding.
The ‘Global Sum’ tab on the left hand side does break down these payments into global sum, PMS and MPIG.
This comprises the following NHS Digital funding pots: Seniority; Doctors Retainer Scheme Payments; General Practice Forward View; Prolonged Study Leave; Appraisal Costs; PCO Admin Other.
These pots are combined together by NHS Digital under the name ‘PCO Administered’. For ease of understanding, we have renamed this ‘CCG administered’.
This does not include local enhanced services, which come under the ‘Enhanced services’ category below.
This comprises the following NHS Digital funding pots: Childhood Vaccination and Immunisation Scheme; Extended Hours Access; Facilitating Timely Diagnosis and Support for People with Dementia; Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunisations; Learning Disabilities; Minor Surgery; Rotavirus and Shingles Immunisation; Services for Violent Patients; Avoiding Unplanned Admissions; Out Of Area in Hours Urgent Care; Meningitis; Pertussis; Total Local Enhanced Services; Non DES Item Pneumococcal Vaccine, Childhood Immunisation Main Programme.
This includes all the Directed Enhanced Services, plus local enhanced services and the programmes for the pneumococcal vaccine and childhood immunisation scheme.
Total QOF payments listed by NHS Digital.
This comprises the following NHS Digital funding pots: Information Management and Technology; Other Payments (mainly training payments); Prescribing Fee Payments.
These are the funding pots that do not fit into the other categories.
Matching similar practices
We worked with Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis, professor of primary care at the University of Manchester, to develop an algorithm that matches practices to one another – what we have called ‘Similar practices’ on the My Income tool.
We used a number of data sources, including the Payments to General Practice document, but also NHS Digital documents on patient ages and the index of multiple deprivation.
We then matched practices based on the following criteria using the ‘Nearest Neighbours’ algorithm.
You can see your matched practices through the PI Compare tool, selecting ‘Similar practices’.
We have excluded APMS practices from the tool.
We also excluded from the ‘similar practices’ comparison any practice that was deemed to have ‘atypical characteristics’ by NHS Digital. This includes practices that merged throughout the financial year, saw a big increase or decrease in patient numbers or – for whatever reason – only had a partial year’s worth of data in the NHS Digital ‘Payments to General Practice’ data.
There are around 60 different pots of national funding included on the website, and you will be able to see how much you are earning from each of them compared with your peer practices. They include total funding, global sum, the various national enhanced services, 27 different QOF areas, locum allowances, GP Forward View money, among many others. You will be able to view all the different funding streams as soon as you sign up.
Most of the raw data about practice income comes from NHS England, through a report by NHS Digital. The data is a completely accurate record of all the funding received by practices from NHS England. The only income it does not include is for private work. The raw data is pretty incomprehensible (view it yourself here), and our data experts have spent months putting it into a useable format. The data is for the previous financial year. So in September 2019, you should be able to access the data from the 2018/19 year.
We can’t magic GPs for you. But we have looked at alternative ways for you to solve your recruitment problems. We undertook a major piece of research alongside experts from the Primary Care Foundation to give an independent view of how various other roles – including pharmacists, paramedics and physician associates – can save you time, or whether they are not worth the trouble. We also worked with recruitment consultants to give some kind of idea about the cost of these non-GP roles in your region. As well as this, we have devises guides on finding these various job roles – and what you need to do in order to recruit them – and template job descriptions.
You will be able to access around 60 articles offering you simple, step-by-step guides on how to maximise your income through the numerous pots of funding on offer in the ‘Income’ section. These have been written by experts in their field – for example, our QOF articles have been written by Dr Gavin Jamie, the leading authority on the database, while Dr Richard West – chair of the Dispensing Doctors Association – tells you how you can ensure you get all the funding you are entitled to through dispensing drugs, even if you are a non-dispensing practice. We provide you with dates for your diary on when to apply for funding in the ‘Key dates’ section, meaning you will never have to miss out on funding available.
We will send you an exclusive weekly newsletter with all the latest tips and deals for maximising your income and minimising your expenses. We will also send alerts when there have been developments in the funding areas you are interested in, and reminders to apply for funding pots.
Pulse Intelligence is for practice managers and GP partners. Each registration is linked to a practice. However, we will be developing the registration options to make them available for commissioners, accountants, and other groups with an interest in practice finances.
Pulse Intelligence offers a tiered pricing structure depending on the size of your practice. Each package is a 12-month membership.
Click here and simply input your practice code, practice name and practice address. You will then be prompted to enter your payment details.
If your practice is already registered, we ask that you please contact your practice administrator, or alternatively, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.