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GP contract proposals likely to be forced on practices without major changes, says FDA chair

Exclusive The Government is likely to push ahead with imposing the GP contract in England without making any significant changes, the chair of the Family Doctor Association has warned after speaking with the NHS Commissioning Board.

Dr Peter Swinyard said he came to the conclusion after speaking with Dame Barbara Hakin, national director for commissioning development at the NHS Commissioning Board, last week.

The Family Doctor Association was one of several organisations to make critical submissions to the Department of Health’s consultation on their proposed changes to the 2013/14 GP contract that closed last week, alongside the GPC, the NHS Alliance and individual GPs.

They had warned that the proposed GP contract imposition in England will erode holistic patient care and demoralise GPs.

After the ‘forceful’ conversation with Dame Barbara, Dr Swinyard said he concluded the GP contract changes in England, as proposed by the DH, were on course to go through without any major changes.

He told Pulse: ‘I did talk to Barbara, I did express my views, fairly forcefully. My personal view after the conversation is that the contract will go through pretty much unchanged apart from tweaks to reflect the consultation.’

Dr Swinyard stressed this was his personal view and that Dame Barbara did not enter any opinion one way or the other as to the outcome of the consultation.

Dame Barbara and the NHS Commissioning Board did not wish to comment on the conversation, but the DH said they would announce the outcome of the consultation ‘shortly’.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘Our proposed changes to the GP contract are designed to improve the care offered to patients.

‘We have recently concluded a consultation, which has allowed us to hear the views of GPs and other stakeholders - we will announce the outcome of the consultation shortly.’

With no further negotiations on the GP contract underway between the GPC and the Government, contract terms are due to be imposed from 1 April.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘If this is a genuine consultation we expect the Government to listen to the grave concerns that GPC, GPs and patients have about the impact of a contract imposition.

‘They should not repeat the mistakes highlighted by the Francis Report and pull back from putting targets before patient care. There is still time for them to demonstrate that they have learnt this lesson.’

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Readers' comments (13)

  • How will this effect the PMS contract being changed unilaterally up and down the country by the PCT at present?

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  • Time for GPC to act. Ballot the grassroots for mass resignation.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    I would like to clarify that I have spoken to many senior people at DH and NHS CB about the consultation and that the views expressed above are mine and cannot be attributed to any person. The discussion about many matters I had witb Dame Barbara touched many fields of mutual interest and she did not make any comment about the government response to the consultation and nothing should be read into that to suggest otherwise.

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  • Nhsfatcat

    How many other workers would put up with their contract being changed every year? Just proves the government get it wrong each year and thus the need to change it. Shows incompetence in contract setting and wonderful flexibility and drive by GPs to cope with it! ;)

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  • ....And when it all goes wrong, The "Daily Lunatic" newspaper will be attacking GPs and sneekily backtracking from its support for these changes. Any comments please from The "Daily Lunatic"??

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  • Simon Ruffle

    Acute hospitals and other NHS organisations have their contract changed every year so why would non NHS organisations, like GP's, not expect to have contracts changed every year?

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  • Nhsfatcat

    Anonymous 12:06
    Contract changes cause a whole lot of problems that distract from patient care.
    Any sensible person would leave organisations to settle. Also year on year the contract specifications and codes aren't clear on the day the contract starts and leaves a lot of retrospective work to complete which,again does not add to patient care which is our primary function.

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) not 'likely'. It is 'definitely'. Again, not a single bit of fantasising please
    (2) At least you are allowed to 'speak out' to DoH , hence no gagging order. You were so 'lucky'. Ha Ha Ha
    (3) As I said before , all these organisations have to seriously examine their attitude and stance towards the government . Otherwise , it is a waste of time on all these discussions or lobbyings......

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  • This Government would make a grave mistake in forcing contract on GPs. This brinksmanship would generate low pay, low morale and increased workload..
    Doctors reaching retirement will call it a day. Young practitioners are not keen to run the show and committed to working as salaried for a better quality of life.When we touch base again this time next year this Govt will count the cost if their follies.

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  • We are helpless because we don't actually have a contract. It is a diktat. Our only option is to resign.
    Take a leaf from the solicitors. Forget pensions, premises et al. £200.00 an hour legal aid. That is our goal.
    Please BMA ballot for resignation.

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