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Threatened changes to contract stun GPs

Government’s proposals after contract talks end infuriate BMA

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The changes that the government is threatening to impose to the GP contract are in some cases neither evidence-based, practical nor feasible, GP leaders warned this morning. The BMA said the government’s proposals could have enormous implications, and has called for an urgent rethink.

Chair of the BMA’s GP committee Dr Laurence Buckman said: “The implications of the government’s new proposals for general practice are likely to be huge, and we will be examining the consequences of this threatened imposition so that we can fully inform the profession and public as soon as possible. There are serious question marks over whether some of the intended changes are based on sound clinical evidence or are practical or feasible.”

The BMA is furious that the Department of Health appears to have disregarded the lengthy contract negotiations that its leaders have already held with NHS Employers. Dr Buckman said: “The government is being disingenuous in its presentation of how we have arrived at this point. GPs will be stunned and angered that the government is disregarding five months of detailed negotiations between the BMA and NHS Employers which was in its final stages just a couple of weeks ago. The government must urgently rethink its approach and return to our negotiated settlement that was so close to being concluded.

“The government’s own surveys show that patients consistently recognise their GP’s commitment to their patients. Doctors have always been at the forefront of driving up standards and we do that by responding to sound evidence, not ill-considered quick fixes.

“Many practices are already stretched to breaking point, which the government appears to be ignoring. For all practices, the changes will place an enormous strain on GPs at a time when they are struggling under the weight of a wholesale NHS reorganisation, especially the implementation of clinical commissioning groups.

“Doctors recognise that we are in tough economic times and the BMA has been committed to achieving a negotiated settlement that delivers genuine improvements for patients while being realistic about what practices can deliver.”

 

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