Responding to the publication of the new GP contract for 2023/24, Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of GPC England at the BMA, said:
“It’s extremely frustrating to see a second GP contract imposition forced on the profession, especially one that does absolutely nothing to improve what is fast-becoming an irreparable situation for practices and their patients up and down the country.
“GPC England approached these contract negotiations in the spirit of collaboration, hopeful that common ground could be found, with the profession, finally, given the support it needs. Instead, the profession was roundly insulted by an inadequate first offer - which the Committee had no choice but to reject - and later subjected to a tick-box exercise meeting with the Secretary of State, who flatly refused to supply additional help to practices.
“This contract is the result of a failure to listen to what GPs actually need, and totally ignores the calls for any extra support to help practices meet the rising costs of keeping their doors open. Despite warnings from GPC England, it also introduces more bureaucracy and arbitrary targets that only set practices up to fail and take GPs away from direct patient care.
“Ministers have focused on eking out more without providing the resources to do this. Without investment to do more, practices have to free up resources from elsewhere. This hasn’t been properly considered, ramping up GP workload, and without the support needed, will lead to more GPs leaving the profession. Ultimately, it’s our patients who suffer most, and this means more of them will be left waiting longer for the care they desperately need.
“This is not the contract our profession or patients need or deserve. Staff will be incredibly worried about how their practices can now possibly survive. The Government must surely understand the link between ignoring the profession and the fact that we’ve now lost the equivalent of more than 2,000 full-time, fully qualified GPs in England.
“General practice can no longer be expected to take whatever is thrown at it, and the Committee’s recent rejection of the contract offer still stands. We will now look to enter serious discussions with our membership and the wider profession on what action we take next.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.