The BMA has published guidance for GPs about the new MCP (multi-specialty community provider) contract.
The document – which can be found online – provides GPs with clear advice about the potential advantages and disadvantages of the three different MCP models.
The MCP contract is voluntary and can be used by GPs working together with others to provide ‘at-scale’ general practice for populations of at least 30,000 to 50,000 patients.
It was developed last year and aims to support the integration of care as local services transform.
The integration of services is supported by the BMA GPs committee but it has concerns about movement away from the national GMS (general medical services) contract.
Doctors leaders think the key aims of the MCP contract can be met within the existing framework and protections of the national GMS contract.
Levels of integration
GPC executive team member Gavin Ralston said: ‘There is a choice of three MCP models – virtual, partially integrated and fully integrated.
'As a result of lobbying by GPC, in two of the options GP practices can benefit from integrated provision of services, while retaining their national contract, although the partially integrated model may still see changes to income streams that GPs will need to consider closely.
‘For some GPs being part of a fully integrated MCP may seem attractive given the pressures on general practice. However, there are clear risks with giving up a national contract for this option, as there will be limited opportunities for GP practices to return to the exact contract arrangements they were previously on.
‘Patients may also lose some of the continuity of care that they value as part of their relationship with their local GP practice. The new MCP contract is also time limited and will be subject to further procurement processes in the future. This will mean that constituent practices may have to compete against commercial companies to retain the contract with, as we know, absolutely no guarantee of success.
‘The key benefit GPs must look for when considering the MCP contract is whether it reduces bureaucracy and workload. Whatever model GPs choose, the crisis in general practice will not be addressed by contract changes. Instead, a systematic programme of investment in general practice by the Government is needed.’
Read the BMA’s new guidance
Read a blog by Dr Ralston on the MCP models
Read more from Peter Blackburn and follow on Twitter.