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Independents' Day

GPC hails success of rejecting contractual extended GP opening hours

Exclusive GP leaders have had to reject pressure from the Department of Health to make evening and weekend opening contractual for several years, the GPC has claimed.

Addressing the Pulse Live conference in London, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul listed this as one of the achievements of the BMA's negotiators in recent years.

The only change to opening hours in the contract that comes in from next month is that GPs can no longer close for training for half a day a week while also collecting funding from the Extended Hours DES.

Dr Nagpaul said: 'Throughout all the years that I have been chair, and before that, we have rejected any pressure to change our contractual hours. So we remain as GPs contractually obliged to provide services from Monday to Friday, 8-6.30.

'So you will note that despite all that has been going on politically, our contractual hours have not extended beyond that.'

His claims come as all CCGs are due to be incentivised as of 2019 to extend access to evening and weekends from 2019, but via hubs run by the CCG or groups of practices.

In the session, Dr Nagpaul also revealed that GPC is having ongoing discussions with the Department of Health what might replace QOF, but that the GPC is reluctant for GPs to have to meet new onerous clinical targets to receive the same funding.

He said: 'Critically, what we don't want is for practices to then have to do more work to earn those QOF points back.'

He also warned there would be 'huge winners and losers' if QOF funding was simply moved into global sum 'because of the fact that you will distribute current achievement based on prevalence to all practices on a capitation basis'.

He said: 'Some practices would have lost tens of thousands of pounds in the process, so we need to look at this very carefully. It is not a simple solution.'

But he also stressed to delegates that the solutions to pressures faced by GPs cannot be solved by successful contract negotiations.

Dr Nagpaul said: 'Critically, the contract itself, whilst it is important to all of us working in GP practices, will not solve the pressures and issues affecting general practice. These are wider.

'In fact more importantly, it is probably the work that we do outside the contract that we all do without resources. The inappropriate unresourced shift of work into our consulting rooms that is perhaps a bigger problem than what is in the contract.'

He said some of the solutions would come from the GP Forward View - the £2.4bn promised rescue deal for general practice - but warned that it would be down to practices to hold CCGs to account to distribute funding streams. He said this was as NHS England's area teams had shown they were 'not capable' of overseeing CCGs.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Congratulations on not overseeing an increase in workload and reduced effective pay during a time of increased demand and scarcity of staff!

    In the confines of a monopsony service this is probably the best that could have been done, but that does beg the question as to whether we should really exist outside the communist NHS like other professional occupations.

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  • However practices are funded, they need a minimum to be able to provide a safe service. The trend towards larger practices with economies of scale will not work in some areas - e.g. rural or localities where there are high percentages of the elderly. Super practices will destroy continuity - the jewel of General Practice . The formulae for funding practices should be completely reviewed on an individual practice basis and not be based on historical figures. My concern is that we are moving towards a model where there are either "entrepreneurial doctors" who are taking over practices to employ salaried GPs and sweating their assets to rake in huge personal profits, or large corporate organisations, including hospital trusts, doing the same thing. The days when patients knew their GP and saw the same one, and when GPs knew their patients seems to be over. This is very sad and potentially very dangerous

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  • Like Michael Crow I left my partnership because I did not want to be caught up in the meltdown of General Practice.

    My surgery was well run, and could trace its' origins back a hundred years, but several of the partners were nearing retirement age and I could see that if we could not recruit new partners the workload could land on fewer shoulders. The fact that I might be asked to work the impossible AND lose my assets led me to leave. I am so glad I did. I can now watch the slow car crash from afar.

    Yes I am poorer than I would have been, but I have safeguarded what I had, and kept my mental health.

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