Pension capping: how GPs should respond
Dr Gillian Francis, Wirral, Merseyside
The profession should respond strongly to the government's capping of GP pensions.
The Government has clearly reneged on its previous commitments. The main reason for the increase in GPs' earnings, and hence pensions, is probably our success in providing quality care and reaching higher targets in the QOF than predicted – we should be commended for this and not publicly accused of greed.
Had the Government done their calculations they would have been able to forecast the cost of pensions based on QOF achievement, global sums and enhanced services, and should have understood the implications for the NHS budget. However, now realising their own financial mismanagement, they have rashly chosen to cap pensions and betray our trust.
For the future, we now have no reason to trust any promises made by this Government, and I think we should be very wary of taking on new work or initiatives unless we are convinced they will have direct benefit to patients.
We should also consider reneging on our commitment to recent initiatives of dubious benefit to patients, such as Connecting for Health (is it £8bn so far?), Choose and Book, practice-based commissioning, and access surveys.
We should close ranks and defend our professionalism, working for patients rather than politicians.
• From Dr William Delaney, Workshop, Nottinghamshire
Regarding the theft of GPs' pensions, we should suggest that all GPs admit one patient to hospital daily – about 35,000 extra daily admissions. This would show how threadbare this lying Government has left secondary care. All of us look after patients at home who could justifiably be admitted.
Tony Blair even had the cheek to expect GPs to help explain away cuts in services. Fat chance – I will be sending all complainers to my
(Labour ) MP.
• From Dr John Hawson, Windermere, Cumbria
The GPC says it will 'protest' over a breach of contract now the Government is declining to pay dynamising factors that had previously been agreed as part of the new contract. But these verbal protestations are just pathetic whimperings.
Breach of contract is a legal matter that requires a legal demand for the contract to be upheld, or else for damages and compensation to be paid for legal costs incurred and for suffering and inconvenience. The only 'protest' that makes sense is for every GP working under the GMS contract to resign from the contract and from the BMA if the BMA fails to secure an outright legal victory. That would be an appropriate protest against incompetent trade union representation.
A contract that is founded on a belief, a handshake, and a misunderstanding (as now seems to have been the case) will work well to the advantage of the party that pays, but
will always work badly for the party that does the work to