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GPs go forth

GPs still in favour of mass resignation despite support package

Exclusive Almost half of GPs are still willing to submit undated resignations, despite the multibillion-pound ‘Forward View’ announced by NHS England last week.

A Pulse survey of 524 English GPs found that 45% would still support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice, while a further one in four are undecided.

This is only a small decrease on the 49% who said that they would be willing to resign their contracts in December 2015.

The Special LMC Conference in January voted for the GPC to canvass support for submitting undated resignation letters if the Government fails to implement a ‘rescue package’ for general practice within six months.

Last week, Pulse exclusively revealed that the GPC was still considering the threat of mass resignation following the announcement of the General Practice Forward View, which committed £2.4bn extra funding a year by 2020 plus a £500m support package.

Today’s poll reveals that GP support for the so-called ‘nuclear option’ is maintained, with the percentage of GPs ruling mass resignation out decreasing from 35% in December to 29% today.

The number of GPs who are undecided has increased, with a separate question revealing that 48% of GPs are unsure on their support of the Forward View. Of the rest, exactly the same number support the Forward View as oppose it. 

GPs said that the Forward View didn’t provide enough emergency funding.

Dr Ben Garland, a GP partner in north London, said: ‘I was waiting to see what it contained. Three make or break points were ignored: Crown indemnity; new money now to stave off disaster; stop all cost dumping from secondary care. As none of these have occurred I have announce my resignation as of August 2017, aged 56.’

Dr Robert Addlestone, a GP partner in Leeds, said: ‘It’s a difficult question. The public might not support us if we resign en masse, but as time goes on and they can’t get an appointment to see a GP maybe the penny will drop eventually and they will understand the dire state of general practice.’

However, Dr Elizabeth Jones, a GP partner in Norfolk, said: ‘I am not sure what this would achieve. We live in a different world than the 1960s when mass resignation was threatened. And the private providers are hovering like vultures.’

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul last week told Pulse that ‘the clock was still ticking’ on the potential for mass resignation.

He said: ’We will make sure we hold NHS England to account to deliver on [the proposals], but it is weak in terms of immediate help for practices and that’s something we will be lobbying for and negotiating for in coming months.’

On the other hand, the RCGP warmly welcomed the Forward View, describing it as perhaps the ‘most significant announcement for general practice since the 1960s’.

Do you support the General Practice Forward View?

Yes: 26% (137)

No: 26% (137)

Don’t know: 52% (250)

Following the announcement of the General Practice Forward View, would you support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice?

Yes: 45% (233)

No: 29% (155)

Don’t know: 26% (136)

The survey was launched on 28 April 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 24 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Samsung HD TV as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 524 GPs answered this question. 

Readers' comments (32)

  • Dr Maureen Baker of RCGP must keep her personal opinions - personal. She needs to validate any RCGP stance as opinions of the majority of the members and is evidence based. or Shut up!

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  • Dr Maureen Baker is quite correct.

    This package will save General Practice and the NHS and must be fully backed.

    The government has kept it's word. There was no top down reorganization of the NHS, no rowing back on the 2004 contract, and HEE will comfortably deliver the 5000 extra qualified GPs they have promised. The evidence for 7 day routine and emergency care as delivered by that great man Prof Keough is overwhelming and clear cut. The government and NHS England can be trusted to deliver 7 day NHS with existing staff numbers and no extra funding because of the brilliant management skills that they have. With time junior doctors will realize that their pay will not go down and their hours will not be cut under the watchful eye of CQC and our dear friends such as Prof. Fields. The RCGP has been instrumental and trustful in the past and skillfully handled the MRCGP 'scandel'. Where others such as the RCP have struggled handling their exams the RCGP have shown all the others how to it. Dr Baker has been instrumental in supporting grassroots GPs by always championing patients and calling for Physician Assistants, Mental Health workers, Pharmacists etc. By shoring up demand and bringing in anyone except GPs we are sure that the survival of the profession will be achieved.

    So stop being so cynical.

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  • An opinion is only a opinion. But the true test for Dr Baker is what RCGP members thinks. I have not seen this!!!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Even though I have never been a MRCGP,I can understand the predicament you are under , Maureen , as the chair of the college in this most extraordinary time of our history . Our profession needs a political solution to stop its demise(some would say the death sentence was already here). So if this package ,investment(but not new money as you said) is the solution , we should inject some optimism into it.
    But given the track record and intention(s) of the last and current governments,caution must be the only word in your head when you first saw the details of this package . Trust on these politicians by the frontline colleagues had diminished to the minimum and somehow needs to be restored legitimately first and I am not sure the way this announcement was made , had qualified this prerequisite . As I said , the Treasury's acknowledgment to the public is essential .
    Then it also begs the question of what is your contingency plan if these promises do not materialise. I think we have a right to know.
    To say this battle is over if this package delivers , would still be intelligence-insulting. Yes , the longer we confront our common enemy may have more 'collateral damages' which in our case , directing to patients . One can argue the public support on our junior colleagues' industrial actions will start evaporating soon. However ,the danger of becoming unclear what we are fighting for would soon translate into a split within ourselves ,i.e. , civil war. (For those sci-fi fans , please watch Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice and the just released Captain America: Civil War. These arguments are standing out strong). The fortress is more easily conquered from inside than by outside force.
    In fact , civil wars as well as conspiracy theories are the current , fashionable aspects of politics.
    The weakness of this government is well exacerbated by the split and mutiny as result of the looming EU referendum. The opposition party is also well fragile and only needed one deluded ex-London mayor bringing clandestine anti-Semitism to the surface(defending a junior MP blindly )to throw the whole party into chaos and turmoil.
    I was listening to the conversation between Murnaghan and Hestletine this morning on Sky News. Even the latter had to honestly admit that Tories only just managed to win the last general election simply because Cameron was more popular than the Conservative party at the time.
    Every move made by this government inevitably is met by scepticism and caution. There is no exception to this package.....

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  • Judging by the comments on Pulse I suspect the poll refelcts teh views of online readers. Not sure it is representative at all of the wider profession. Certainly not even part of the conversation in our area about the best way to move forward given all the pressures etc

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  • Not sure the private providers will be interested - not a lot of evidence they can make any money on it.

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  • It is not a simple as partnerships would be responsible for premises bills, redundancy for staff etc etc and HM government know this and will more than likely call our bluff

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  • Delusional disorders are actually manageable long term...though not fully treatable!

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  • I worked 15 years as independent private Dr.
    And very successful. Because affordable fees, and what I thought a good service: no waiting list, much more time to examine patients and discuss their treatment...so very often no need for specialist referral. Or if so, letter to the NHS family Dr, with the patient's consent. In case of emergency of course I would send them to A&E...
    There was such a demand, that I wondered why not more such independent Drs! Money was not a problem, even for poor people, because they had the TRUST... But of course I had to deliver good medicine, with good results! I had the challenge to be always up to date, and honest. If not, patients would desert my premises!
    No publicity, only word of mouth!!!
    SO COURAGE GP's, GO INDEPENDENT PRIVATE!

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  • So guys lets walk the talk.

    Lets all resign en-mass. United we stand.

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