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Less than one in five GPs would have voted for the GP contract

Only 15% of GPs would have approved the new five-year GP contract if it had been put to ballot, according to a survey.

Out of the 810 GPs surveyed, 45% said they would have not voted for the new contract and 40% said they didn’t know.

It comes as BMA members have voted against the ‘immediate’ withdrawal of the GP contract, after a motion was put forward at the body's annual representative meeting in Belfast this week.

The contract, introduced in April and negotiated by the BMA and NHS England, brings in a raft of changed - including financial incentives to join primary care networks and a new state-backed indemnity scheme paid for out of the global sum. 

At yesterday's BMA meeting, the BMA’s London Regional Council, who put forward the motion, said they were ‘opposed’ to the framework agreement and insisted that GPs and trainee GPs should be allowed to vote on it.

It said: ‘That this meeting believes this heist of GP registered NHS patients and their capitated budgets through dint of making primary care contract holders hastily sign network contracts and agreements by May 2019, suggests that the real agenda of GP contract change is to "evolve" independent GP practices into extinction over five years and replace them with ICS-run primary care.’

In Pulse’s survey, GPs were asked whether they would have voted in favour of the contract if balloted.

One respondent commented: ‘No, not ever. It’s appalling. Extra work, extra responsibility, extra liability, dumping extended hours then improved access. Network rules too restricting. Legal mess.

‘No real increase in funding. No freedom to invest in staff we need rather than those stipulated. Even worse than 2004 which at least allowed us to earn more for the extra work – for the first year or two anyway.’

Another respondent said: ‘I think the concept behind primary care networks are right but the approach, slowly phased investment and constraining approach to recruitment into new roles won’t impact on sustainability greatly.’

It follows warnings from accountants that practices should ‘think twice’ before signing primary care network contracts, due to potential concerns around VAT and HR issues.

Earlier this year, a number of practices were reported to have ‘hurriedly’ designed their networks in order to meet the deadline.

It was revealed that practices would receive 45p per patient less through DES for providing extended hours

This story was changed to reflect that in the survey GPs were asked whether they would have voted for the contract, not motion, as was previously stated. 

Readers' comments (15)

  • Reminds me of Animal Farm.

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  • locum x sums it up very well.
    also I keep seeing this everydoctor campaign - looks interesting. from what i have heard the bma might be bit frightened of this challenger.

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  • There is already another union, there’s Doctors in Unite formerly the medical practitioners union. We are a national branch of the health sector of Unite the Union which has 100000 health workers. DiU/MPU has been in existence for over 100 years.

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  • FYI this was my proposer speech to Motion 103
    “Within three weeks of January’s NHS Long Term Plan, a new GP contract was published, already agreed by GPC leaders. GPC aims to push it through by next Monday, with 100% population coverage. But there’s been no vote by GP BMA members! Yet this GP contract change is pivotal to covering the whole of England with Integrated Care Systems and Integrated Care Providers, the English equivalent of US Accountable Care.
    Called “ Investment and Evolution; a five- year framework of GP contract reform to implement the NHS Long Term Plan”, its a framework to herd GP practices and their patients into New Model Primary Care Networks.(PCNs)
    These are different because practices must; - sign up to, a Network Contract DES, laid over their core GP contract, and has a £1.8bn Network funding stream, and new specifications ( like working in Multidisciplinary teams of non –doctors to network protocols ) .-and must sign a Network Agreement - a new legal “ integration” agreement, to enable other providers, such as, hospitals, social care, Mental health, dentists,Virgin run community care, etc to become members.
    “PCNs are the building blocks of ICSs”, and work under ICS direction, as the PCN clinical directors sit on the boards.
    They must obey LTPlan objectives *to cut spending and * commit to “ Shared savings schemes”, whereby the less hospital care your patients receive, the more money the ICS make.
    These structures have never been seen in the NHS before and totally change the GP- patient relationship. By what right can GPC agree, that patient lists, currently owned by GP practices, are taken over and co -owned by Integrated Care Systems- all over England? This is a heist of 55million NHS registered patients!
    The “evolution” - through multi-year contract change and “ integration” with all medical services, fattens ICSs up into ICPs which could be run by private companies for profit. GPs working for these, would lose their independent GMS contracts, and any vestige of clinical autonomy.
    But this contract change will totally transform the lives of ALL doctors, ALL NHS staff and the whole population, by helping NHSEngland get ICSs launched nationally on the US model and speeding up privatisation. This framework must be withdrawn immediately. Please support the motion.”
    In my reply cut short, three points were made; Dr Vautrey is on record as saying this GP contract reform is more significant than the contract change in 2004. There was a vote in 2004, Why cannot there be this time?
    This contract does not address the burning question in general practice, the lack of 7000 GPs. That’s where the £1.8bn of new network funds should be going.
    What is so wrong with NHS GP practices that have served us so well, when properly funded?

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  • the BMA using this voting system to support our voting ourselves to being stuffed first, before being flucked for Christmas, without realising it, ..again?!

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