GP leaders in England are calling on the Health Secretary to reconsider the imposition of this year’s changes to the GP contract – something they say is currently ‘not fit for purpose’.
Changes to the contract, which sets out mandatory requirements for NHS GPs to follow, were roundly rejected by the General Practitioners Committee in England (GPCE) in February, after the committee argued the proposals were ‘unsafe and insulting’.
Although some minor changes were made, the contract still failed to offer proper support to GPs and will now be imposed on the profession from 1st April.
In a letter1 sent to Steve Barclay earlier this week, Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of GPCE at the BMA, urged Mr Barclay to ‘sit back down with us’ to negotiate a contract that the profession could accept.
He writes: “At this time of unprecedented pressure across general practice, the imposition of such a contract will serve only to undermine further the confidence of the profession in the government to adequately deliver what is needed to maintain a safe and accessible general practice, for both GPs and their patients.”
He also explained what would be needed to rectify the inadequacy of the contract, including offering support to cover minimum wage uplifts for staff, inflationary rises in energy and medical supplies, and other practice running costs.
Dr Sharrock added: “Accommodating these requirements would go a long way in demonstrating to the profession, that the government is prepared to work with us, and not against us, whilst preparing to agree a new contract for 2024 and beyond.
“Not accommodating these requirements would further undermine the profession, who we have been engaging with, and who tell us they are ready to act if they do not see positive change.”
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.
- Please find the full letter here.