Dr Peter Swinyard: ‘This will not be welcomed by many of my colleagues’
Chair of the Family Doctor Association Dr Peter Swinyard gives his reaction to the BMA’s blueprint for the future of general practice.
I think that it’s quite a visionary document. It is looking ahead to how we’ll be practising in the future. It is, to some extent, accepting that there will be change.
I know that the change will not be welcomed by many of my colleagues, and I think some people will say it’s a sell out and that it’s the Government agenda just being parroted by the BMA.
But clearly the mood of the moment is for closer working between practices, whatever you choose to call it. Whether you choose to call it federation, or alliances, or shared resources, or whatever.
Things have become so tight in general practice at the moment that, especially smaller practices, are just not going to survive without working together with other people. It just isn’t viable anymore, and we have to start thinking differently about how we’re going to organise ourselves.
There’s a lot of good stuff in there about taking out unnecessary and wasteful competition, when you’re trying to organise local services, especially in the unscheduled care department. And I think they could have gone further with that, and talked in more detail about taking out ridiculous, wasteful tendering processes, when you’re actually just trying to provide a decent service to your patients or to other patients in the local area.
Because these things tend to be done very well by the big companies, but the actual service provision, doesn’t tend to be done very well by the big companies, and I think they could have gone a lot further in that direction.