Exclusive The BMA’s GP Committee is not seeking to renegotiate the current five-year GP contract, outside of the usual annual amendments, Pulse has learned.
The clarification comes as GPC England last night issued a statement calling on the Government and NHS England to start negotiations on a ‘refreshed, fit-for-purpose’ GP contract to reflect the changes in the profession over the past few years.
However, when asked by Pulse whether this means the GPC is looking to renegotiate the current contract early, before the conclusion of the five-year deal, a BMA spokesperson confirmed that this is not the case.
Last night, GPC England chair Dr Farah Jameel had said that the current contract was ‘agreed in good faith three years ago’ but ‘simply does not reflect the experiences and needs of GPs and their patients today’.
And she said that the GPC’s ‘new leadership’ provided ‘an opportunity to renew, reset and renegotiate a contract that delivers for both the profession and patients, and that addresses the key issue impacting general practice today: retention of our workforce’.
But a BMA spokesperson explained that the call did not go beyond the motion passed at yesterday’s GPC meeting, which made clear that the timescales for a new contract are following the end of the five-year agreement in 2023/24.
The spokesperson added that the GPC will continue to negotiate annual amendments to, and implementation of, the five-year contract in that time.
Motion in full
This Committee acknowledges the 2022/23 proposed contract amendments to the current five-year contract agreement and notes that further proposals are awaited and:
i) Endorses the GPC England executive to negotiate additional support for general practices to deliver the recovery/backlog demands in 2022/23 and 2023/24.
ii) Calls on the Government to support negotiations for a refreshed fit-for-purpose contract agreement beyond the 5-year agreement ending in 2023/24, which supports the independent contractor model.
iii) Instructs GPCE executive to engage the GPCE committee in developing plans and begin a profession-wide consultation on the future of general practice.
The BMA’s statement issued yesterday said that it wants a new contract that tackles ‘the challenges of workforce shortages, tired outdated premises, a population with increasing medical complexity’.
It added that it wants the contract to provide support to GPs in managing the record backlogs in communities, while reaffirming its support of the independent contractor model.
The BMA’s GP Committee also faced recent internal criticism for its failure to act on previous motions, including around transparency and formal industrial action as a result of the Government’s controversial access plans.