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Family Doctor Association backs One Voice campaign

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Family Doctor Association has added its support to Pulse's One Voice campaign to address the split within the profession.

Dr Peter Swinyard, the association's chair-elect, said a divided practice would be hugely damaging for both principals and sessional GPs, and would make it easier for the Government to achieve its aim of a wholly salaried profession.

The support of the FDA adds to the growing number of influential organisations backing Pulse's campaign. The NHS Alliance and the Conservative Medical Society both lent their support, while the BMA said it supported the campaign aims.

Dr Swinyard, who officially takes over from outgoing chair Dr Michael Taylor next week, said the threat of a split had been a much-needed ‘wake-up call' to the GPC: ‘It would very bad for all principals and salaried GPs. It would be terrible for the Government to be able to divide and rule. The Government would find it tidier to have a totally salaried service.

‘If you start splitting off salaried GPs and locums, the next thing is to say, doctors working in APMS practices should have different representation, then PMS practices, so therefore the GPC should only represent GMS partners. The Government can then say, "you're only a minority, we won't talk to you".'

Dr Swinyard added: ‘Sometimes the GPC hasn't listened to locums and salaried GPs as much as it might have done. This has been a wake-up call to get its house in order.'

He said the association would be happy to attend a summit meeting with other interested parties to discuss resolutions to the divide.

‘I'd absolutely be interested in doing that,' he said.

Sign the One Voice campaign petition

Pulse is running an email petition to call for all the main political parties to support moves to open up opportunities for partnerships.

The petition, which will also be submitted to all primary care organisations, will be a key element of Pulse's One Voice campaign to help bring the profession together.

It reads: ‘We the undersigned believe the declining opportunity for new GPs to become partners is at the root of the divisions within general practice, and is weakening the ability of GPs to act as strong advocates for patients and maintain continuity of care. We call on politicians to recognise the value of the independent-contractor model for providing innovation and long-term care for patients, and to explore contractual changes or local incentives to make it more financially attractive for practices to take on partners.'

To sign our petition, email your name and practice location to onevoice@pulsetoday.co.uk.

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