The package of measures put forward by the government to help save general practice has been formally rejected by the BMA’s England GP committee, which represents grassroots GPs in England.  

At a meeting yesterday (Thursday), there was unanimous support from committee members to reject the plan published last week, which fundamentally failed to address the ongoing crisis in general practice, and for GPs to not engage in its implementation.

In addition, the committee has called on practices to disengage with wider requirements and demands, as well as taking steps towards industrial action over the Government’s decision to impose plans on GP earnings declarations and forcing GPs to oversee the Covid vaccination exemption process.

The BMA believes the Health Secretary ignored the expertise and experience of family doctors when he laid out his plan and that patient care will suffer as a result.

New contract to ensure general practice is properly funded

Now the Association’s GP committee is calling on the Government to work with them to introduce a new contract which ensures general practice is properly funded, with safer workload and reduced bureaucracy, and ultimately provides better care and services for patients and vastly improved working conditions for doctors and their teams.

In the meantime, GPs in England are encouraged to not comply with the very worst aspects of the Health Secretary’s plan – those, for example, which mean spending more time on bureaucratic process, or complying with target driven leagues tables to ‘name and shame’ GPs.

The Chair of the BMA GP Committee, Dr Richard Vautrey said: “GPs have been left with no alternative but to take this action. All efforts to persuade the Government to introduce a workable plan that will bring immediate and longer-term improvement for doctors and their patients, have so far come to nought. The Government has completely ignored our requests for a reduction in bureaucracy to allow us to focus more on patient care, and we are therefore encouraging doctors to withdraw from this bureaucracy themselves.

“The ultimate outcome should be to end the current crisis in general practice, to properly support practices to manage their workload pressure, including safely getting through the backlog of care caused by the pandemic and deliver a safe service to patients, allowing time to create an agreed long-term plan to make general practice sustainable for the future.”

Services like the Covid vaccination programme and annual flu plan will not be affected by today’s decisions. GPs will continue to use their expertise to provide safe care for their patients based on their clinical need, rather than be driven by the Government’s target based and tick box approach to providing services.