Thousands of GPs have branded the government's blueprint for rescuing general practice as 'useless' and say it is an unacceptable response to the crisis, according to a snap poll by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Almost 3,500 GPs in England took part in the survey and 93% said they do not believe the plan will go any way to addressing the pressures facing general practice, staff and patients.

They believe that it would, in fact, increase workload and bureaucracy on GPs and their colleagues, reduce the number of appointments available, and impact the quality of patient care, while threatening to name-and-shame and penalise practices that need the most help.

The latest GP workforce figures show that more than 1,800 full-time, fully qualified, GPs have left the profession in the last six years.  

A separate survey of more than 6,000 GPs in England, conducted in the week before the announcement, found that two-thirds (66%) of respondents were prepared to reduce their hours to protect themselves from the current crisis, while more than half (54%) shockingly said they would consider leaving the NHS all together if the government did not provide them with the support they needed.

The Association said the situation could get far, far worse, and "this will be on the Health Secretary’s watch. He will be to blame".

A shambolic plan that has failed before it has begun

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee England chair, said: “This shows the profession has out and out rejected this shambles of a plan from the Government and NHS England. If the Health Secretary thinks it is enough to provide a lifeline to surgeries this winter, let alone save general practice in the long term, this response shows how wrong he is.

"The BMA provided the Health Secretary with a clear plan to help address the crisis in the short term, that could improve patient access and guarantee safe, high quality care, while also putting forward longer term solutions. He chose to ignore that and instead we have a shambolic plan that has failed before it has begun. These survey results show how angry and despondent GPs are. The profession clearly sees the Government’s name and shame approach as a bully’s charter, which will intensify existing problems."

He added that patient care will suffer because imposing these measures could very well result in doctors having to spend even more time on paperwork and admin. 

The BMA’s England GP committee will meet later this week to discuss the package and what steps they, and the Association, wish to take next.