The BMA is planning to ask the Department of Health to remove workload from GP practices that could be done elsewhere, in order to relieve pressures.
In an email to LMCs seen by Pulse, GPC acting chair Dr Kieran Sharrock said that the department ‘want to work with us to remove workload from practices that should or could be done elsewhere.’
Pulse understands that the BMA is now putting together a list of items to send to the Department of Health, including ‘bureaucratic items which could be done by others.’
He added: ‘There is clearly a lot of work passed inappropriately by hospital and community trusts, and we continue to work with NHSE, AoMRC, and DHSC to change this. We also know locally LMCs are doing the same with trusts and ICBs.
‘On top of this there are various bureaucratic items which could be done by others and we want to share a list of these with DHSC.’
The list, seen by Pulse, included items such as:
- Death certificates
- Confirmation of death
- Medical examiners
- Sick notes
- Prescribing end of life medication
- Medication administration recording sheets (MARS)
- Pharmacy medication switches
- PIP forms
- DWP forms
- Community midwives/community providers
- Get a note from your doctor “culture” – ‘GPs will not provide notes to indemnify you for an activity or to get out of something, for example gym membership, parachute jump’
- Housing requests
As well as items GPs are funded for privately but could be removed to decrease workload, including:
- Cremation paperwork
- DVLA forms
- Airlines and travel companies requesting lists of medication and conditions.
Dr Sharrock told Pulse: ‘This engagement with LMCs was to kickstart a conversation around removing bureaucracy and unnecessary workload from practices so that GPs and their teams have more time to care directly for patients – something the Government itself asked us to do to inform negotiations and discussions.
‘Ultimately, GPs and other practice staff cannot take on infinite work, and need to prioritise and focus their expertise and time on treating sick patients who need them the most.
‘At a time of huge demand and rising costs for practices, it is therefore incredibly demoralising for GPs to have a contract imposed on them that increases these pressures with no additional support.’
As part of the contract imposition this week, NHS England said there was going to be a recovery plan for general practice released in the spring.
Pulse revealed earlier this year that the recovery plan is likely to address ‘workload dump’ by trusts, although this has been promised previously.
Following the imposition of a new GP contract for the upcoming year earlier this week, which the BMA’s GPC said is ‘the result of failure to listen to what GPs actually need,’ the union said it is considering next steps and ‘all options,’ including industrial or collective action.
The contract focuses on increasing patient access, including a stipulation that GP practices offer patients an ‘assessment of need’ on first contact meaning they will ‘no longer be able to request that patients contact the practice at a later time.’
Other changes, revealed in NHS England’s letter to GPs, include the requirement for practices to offer automatic access to future patient records through the NHS app, and focussing the majority of the investment and impact fund (IIF) on patient experience of contacting their practice.
Following the contract imposition, Dr Sharrock said that some of its requirements ‘only set practices up to fail and take GPs away from direct patient care’ and that the GPC would have ‘serious discussions’ with its membership about next steps, which could include industrial action.