BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul answers your questions
A special local medical committees conference was held in January that gave the BMA GPs committee six months to negotiate a ‘rescue package’ for general practice with the Government. What has happened since then?
We have worked hard to demonstrate the reality of the crisis via our Urgent Prescription for General Practice campaign.
Our heatmap survey results in February, March and April highlighted that nine out of 10 practices have seen a rise in workload over the past year, and half report that quality of care has deteriorated.
One in 10 says they are financially unsustainable and almost half struggle to obtain locum cover.
We secured a reduction in red tape in the GP contract in England for 2016-17, ending the enhanced dementia service with funding transferred into core budgets, and achieved a £220m investment to address rising expenses.
We have published our rescue plan for general practice, setting out tangible, deliverable actions to address the unmanageable pressures facing GPs and their staff.
NHS England published its General Practice Forward View, which sets out its package of support for general practice.
What is the BMA’s response to the NHS England Forward View?
The Forward View concedes the workforce, workload and funding crises in general practice, responding to our sustained lobbying.
It proposes to reverse the decline in general practice funding to a progressive rise in the share of the NHS budget and promotes a comprehensive support package with earmarked funds, but there is insufficient information on addressing immediate pressures.
The GPC is in talks with NHS England and is part of the Forward View advisory oversight group.
We will hold NHS England to account so that practices see delivery, and lobby NHS England to address parts of the Urgent Prescription not covered by the Forward View.
Does the Forward View go far enough?
Many of the proposals take on board the GPC’s specific recommendations in the Urgent Prescription, including:
- increased recurring funding in general practice
- practice resilience support
- measures to cut workload
- a commitment to address rising indemnity costs
- new resources for collaborative working
- expanding the workforce
- initiatives to encourage GP retention.
If these are realised, general practice could receive the support it badly needs.
But the Forward View must provide immediate support for practices unable to cope today, and go further in other areas such as replacing the disproportionately heavy hand of Care Quality Commission inspections.
The GPC will push NHS England to deliver what is in the Forward View and the areas in our Urgent Prescription yet to be addressed.
The story so far