New announcements from NHS England as part of an update on the GP Forward View are encouraging according to GP leaders, although more detail is needed on key elements of today's package of measures.
Responding to the update on the multispecialty community provider (MCP) care model framework, Dr Brian Balmer, BMA GP Executive member, said:
“The BMA will be looking at these proposals in detail, but we remain concerned that there are number of risks to GP practices who might sign a local, time limited contract. We would prefer that NHSE moves ahead with an MCP that allows different forms of contractual arrangements, so that innovation and flexibility is encouraged, while retaining a registered list based service that has been one of the great strengths of general practice.”
Commenting on the new resilience fund for struggling GP practices, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee member, said:
“It is encouraging that the government is finally showing signs of recognising the immense pressures facing GP practices which has left many on the brink of closure. This year a major BMA survey found that more than 300 practices across England believed they were no longer financially viable because of a combination of declining resources, rising patient demand and staff shortages. We face the serious prospect of whole areas of the country being left without local GP services to provide care to their communities.
“This new resilience fund does significantly expand the resources available to struggling practices and it appears to have learnt some of the lessons from last year’s failed vulnerable practice scheme which was riddled with delay and bureaucracy. However, we will be scrutinising the detail of this proposal as it is vital that the funding is provided in a flexible manner and is streamlined to avoid an exhausting bidding process. We also must ensure that practices are comfortable in seeking support, and do not fear reprisal from breach of notice orders, which would perversely deter those that most need assistance.”
Responding to the announcement on medical indemnity cover, Dr Charlotte Jones, BMA executive team member, said:
“The increasing costs of indemnity cover is causing concern for all GPs and is starting to have a detrimental impact on most GPs who simply cannot afford to work more sessions or maintain their current working commitments. This announcement today does offer some short-term financial support to practices that is much needed, and is to be welcomed, but we will be examining this in more detail. We do need to find a long term solution to this issue that is not just a quick fix.”