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The waiting game

Contract latest: BMA launches poster campaign

By Steve Nowottny

The BMA this week kicked off its campaign against the Government's proposed contract changes with a direct appeal to patients, warning the future of general practice is ‘under threat'.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman wrote yesterday to all GPs, updating them on contract discussions, and asked them to display posters in their waiting room.

The poster – which the BMA describes as the first in a series of ‘patient newsletters'- is headlined ‘Your general practice and the family doctor service is under threat'.

It addresses concerns over value for money, private providers and out of hours care, and warns patients ‘the Government is taking steps which doctors believe will harm patient services.'

Dr Buckman said: ‘We need to demonstrate to our patients what they are in danger of losing. We would ask all practices to display copies in their surgery waiting rooms.'

The poster comes as the BMA prepares to poll all UK GPs on the Government's contract offer. LMCs across the country are holding special meetings to discuss the deal.

If GPs do not accept the offer, ministers have warned they will impose in April unilateral contract changes which could cost the average practice £36,000 should it refuse to offer extended opening.

Dr Buckman said GPs should not be ‘intimidated' by threats of unilateral changes, and urged them to ‘consider the wider implications of the choice they make.'

‘Clearly what the Government is threatening to impose this year could well be its offer next year – less points in QOF and more extended hours,' he said.

‘What is at risk is not simply a practice funding increase but the personal, list-based system of general practice that is so valued by the vast majority of our patients.'

download the GPC poster download the GPC poster Dr Laurence Buckman

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