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GPC defends 2014/15 contract negotiation following GP critique

The GPC has defended its negotiation of the 2014/15 GP contract, following criticisms from GPs who felt the contract had failed to reduce bureaucracy.

Speaking at the Pulse Live conference in London today, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the GPC was focused on ensuring GPs’ ‘core’ work is being funded and allowing GPs to use their clinical judgement to a greater extent by achieving QOF concessions.

He also said the work involved with the unplanned admissions DES was mainly ‘in line with good medical practice’.

Last week, a Pulse survey revealed that 69% of GPs did not think that the deal negotiated between the GPC and NHS England had reduced bureaucracy, while one in seven was planning to refuse the new unplanned admissons DES, due to bureaucracy concerns, despite it being worth £20,000 for the average practice.

But Dr Vautrey said the main aim was to remove box ticking.

He said: ‘We wanted to try and address, rationalise, make sense of and actually get rid of some of the inappropriate stuff that you really didn’t need to micromanage in that particular way. You may well want to do surveys for exercise and whatever but you shouldn’t be forced to do it just because a patient has hypertension, and so we have removed some of those inappropriate indicators.’

‘We also wanted to reduce the workload of box ticking that not only you were doing, but the practice nurses, which was pointless if you were only doing it because QOF tells you to do it.’

‘We really wanted to reduce the workload of QOF but also reintroduce professionalism again, [and] we also wanted to start to try and transfer some of the resource from QOF and into the core contract, which is where it belongs.’

In defence of the DES, Dr Vautrey said that while the workload should not be underestimated the work involved should be ‘in line with good medical practice’, adding that the GPC had won concessions against the Government which wanted targets for reducing A&E admissions to form part of the specification.

He said: ‘We shouldn’t underestimate that this is a big piece of work which will cause a lot of challenges for many practices but should be in line with good medical practice.’

‘And importantly, while this is an enhanced service to try to reduce emergency admissions, there is no target to reduce admissions to hospital. We fought against that because we thought that it was clinically dangerous and inappropriate, and fortunately we were listened to.’

Further making his point, Dr Vautrey said: ‘The contract does not mention longer opening hours, which many GPs thought they would be compelled to do. Equally, patients having access to GP records, which is something that was threatened, does not form part of the contract deal.’

But he added: ‘Sadly, there’s no new money as part of this year’s deal either. It was very clear in the contract negotiations that it was up to the DDRB to make an award. Sadly they came up with the “massive” 0.28%… which in reality is a pay cut. But the contract negotiation was not about additional money, it was about utilising the resources that we have already got.’