The BMA’s GP Committee has rejected an ‘insulting’ contract offer from NHS England, warning that it would risk the safety of patients and cause more GPs to leave.
It is unclear what was including in the contract offer, but the BMA did say that it included no additional investment to counter the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
It warned that if NHS England and the Government were to impose a contact, the GPC would consider ‘all options’ including industrial or collective action.
The current contract runs out in 2024, and there have been radical suggestions from both sides, including moving to payment by activity, scrapping QOF and introducing contractual workload limits.
However, Pulse understands that there may be resistance from the Treasury to inject more funding to cover inflationary rises for 2023/24.
If there is no agreement, then the current contract will roll over or the Government could theoretically impose the contract – however this would likely lead to industrial action.
Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of the GPC, said: ‘This year’s offer is a slap in the face of hardworking GPs and patients across the country.
‘To offer nothing to meet the spiralling costs of running practices as inflation runs rife, and teams continue to do more with less, is insulting to staff and unsafe for patients.
‘With inflation remaining stubbornly high, burdening practices with rising expenses for bills, staff and services, this offer will lead partners to question the very viability of practices and their ability to continue trying to provide safe care to their patients. When we’ve lost more than 400 practices in England since 2019, impacting millions of patients, we cannot afford to lose any more..’
He added: ‘For many undecided GPs, this insulting offer will likely be the final straw in pushing them out the surgery door.
‘In rejecting this offer we are standing up for both the future of the profession and the safe care of patients. General practice can no longer be expected to take whatever is thrown at it. If there is no change in approach from this Government, it will preside over the death of general practice as we know it.’