NHS England released the plans on 3 December, which will reduce some of the bureaucratic burdens GPs face such as elements of the Quality and Outcomes Framework programme for all GP practices in England.
BMA GP representatives responded to the proposals in the media during the weekend. Speaking on the Today programme on Saturday morning Farah Jameel, BMA GPs committee chair, said: ‘General practice is working at full throttle and what these measures do is release us from some of the paperwork – which means we have more time to look after our patients.’
Speaking on BBC News on Saturday BMA council deputy chair David Wrigley said GPs were committed to balancing the need for vaccinating the population with managing non-COVID needs among patients. He said many such as his practice were running weekend vaccinations for patients to allow GPs ‘to focus on that day-to-day care from Monday to Friday as we have been doing throughout the pandemic and of course seeing them face to face if we need to'.
Dr Jameel and Dr Wrigley both appeared on Times Radio to discuss the plan and Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GPs committee and council member, discussed the topic on ITV’s Evening News.
Most in need
Responding to the proposals in more detail Dr Jameel said: ‘At this critical time in the fight against COVID-19, GPs and their teams want to do all they can to protect and look after their communities, focusing on those most in need.
‘This means finely balancing the clear national priority to deliver booster vaccinations to as many people as possible with ensuring that people who need care and treatment from their GP practice and the wider NHS continue to receive it.
‘With a finite number of staff and hours in the day, and while GPs and their teams will want to step up and do all they can in the midst of this national emergency, there must be a recognition that they cannot do everything for everyone all of the time.
‘These changes begin to recognise this, and we hope that, by removing some of the more bureaucratic and target-based requirements within practices’ contracts, that staff’s time can be freed up to get more jabs into arms, while allowing practices to focus on patients who need their attention the most.
‘Patients need to know that if they are unwell or have concerning symptoms and need to receive care from their practice they will continue to be prioritised and GP teams will continue doing their very best to keep their sickest patients safe in every way they can and know how.’