The BMA’s England GP committee has, following an emergency meeting, agreed to return to formal meetings with NHS England and Improvement. This is seen to be vital in order to represent grassroots GPs whilst pushing for changes that secure the best for the profession, as practices continue to adapt to agile pandemic working requirements and in the face of increased attacks in some segments of the media.
GP representatives have held no formal meetings with NHSEI since the end of May, when the committee passed a motion calling for all such talks to cease following damaging communications from NHSEI’s leadership and failures to support the profession. At an emergency GPC England meeting held yesterday (Thursday 2 September) committee members debated the issue and in the past 24 hours have voted to resume formal meetings.
BMA GPC England chair Dr Richard Vautrey said:
“There is no doubt that GPs – who have pushed themselves to breaking point over the last 18 months to continue providing a service and caring for patients – have been left frustrated, angry and disappointed with the repeated failures of NHSEI and the Government to recognise and celebrate their contribution during the pandemic response, ultimately leading to calls for us to disengage with NHSEI in May.
“Whilst we have seen some initial signs of progress, including the scrapping of the restrictive and unhelpful Standard Operating Procedures, suspension of PCN service specifications, a funding boost for PCN leaders and a change in tone from NHSEI’s leadership, there is still much work to be done in proving that both the Government and NHSEI value family doctors and their teams.
“However, if we are not at the table, it is significantly harder for us to advocate for grassroots GPs and push for changes that secure the best for our members at a time that is so crucial for the profession – a point that was clearly articulated during discussions with the committee this week. Effective leadership is vital right now and we are committed to doing everything in our power to represent practices that continue to work under the most pressured circumstances that many have ever experienced.
“As reflected in yesterday’s debate and the result of the subsequent vote, NHSEI and the Government have a long way to go in persuading the profession that they are committed to addressing the crisis in general practice and will support doctors and their teams who are at their wits end.
“Not least, we expect these organisations to promote and defend those working in general practice, most urgently in the face of the sustained attacks on our members within certain sections of the media.
“To be clear, and reflecting the views of the committee, this cannot be ‘business as usual’. We must see far more evidence of action by the new NHSEI leadership to address the serious situation we now see in practices and other services that GPs work in, and we will do all that we can to hold them and government to account.”
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.
- Members of GPCE passed the following motion 59% for, 39% against and 2% abstained.
“GPC England agrees to resume formal meetings with NHS England and NHS Improvement.”