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I have been elected as chair of the BMA GPs committee at a critical moment for general practice. We face enormous challenges, and I want to work with all members to shape the future of our profession and improve patient care.
This is not an easy time to be a GP. General practice is facing a year-on-year reduction in investment as a proportion of total NHS spend. But at the same time, we are being expected to take on significant extra work. And while international research continues to confirm the extraordinarily high quality of care UK GPs provide, we are unjustly subject to political and media assaults and erroneously blamed for failings in other parts of the system.
This comes as GPs in England are forced to deal with the impact of the imposed changes to their contract. We all have our own experiences of this, but what the BMA needs is a bigger picture of its impact. So we have emailed all English GPs a survey to get a better idea.
The survey will only take a few minutes to fill in, but it covers some vitally important areas. It asks about workload, morale, funding and expenses. It also covers the levels of engagement with clinical commissioning groups, the impact of the changes to the QOF (quality and outcomes framework), and GPs’ view of and participation in the new directed enhanced services.
We have kept the survey deliberately short and simple, but you can tell us in more detail about these issues in the comments section below.
The answers to the survey, due in a few weeks, will inform the negotiations just beginning for the 2014/15 contract.
Furthermore, we can see that demographic changes and moving care into the community will create new demands for general practice. We know, and we must make the government know, that these challenges cannot be tackled by simply piling more work onto general practice, at a time when GPs are working above capacity.
So in the autumn, we plan to publish an outline vision of how general practice can be supported and developed to help the NHS meet its many challenges. We will need your views to help us create the best possible blueprint.
Work with us, and we will do all that we can to restore pride to our great profession and give patients the high quality care they deserve.
Chaand Nagpaul is chair of the BMA GPs committee
What has been the impact of the contract imposition and QOF changes on you? Tell us in the comments section below
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