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BMA GP Committee is now ‘in dispute’ with NHS England

BMA GP Committee is now ‘in dispute’ with NHS England

The BMA’s GP Committee England chair has written to NHS England to state that they are ‘now in dispute’.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer told NHSE primary care director Dr Amanda Doyle that the dispute is based on this year’s imposed GMS contract.

Last month, 99% of GPs voted down the contract in a referendum organised by the BMA.

However, this was not a formal ballot and was described as a ‘temperature check’ of the profession.

While no exact date has been set for a formal ballot on industrial action, the committee has previously revealed its plans to open a ballot for GPs ‘by early September’ with a view to starting industrial action in November.

In her letter, Dr Bramall-Stainer said: ‘I am writing to you to inform you that the BMA’s GPCE is now in dispute with NHS England in relation to the 2024/25 General Medical Services Contract for General Practice.’

She highlighted that more than 19,000 GPs voted in the BMA’s referendum, covering nearly 75% of the union’s GP partner members.

‘In the next 24 hours we will be writing to each Integrated Care Board in England to highlight this dispute and our advice to add potential GP action onto their system register,’ Dr Bramall-Stainer wrote.

Pulse reported these plans earlier this month, as well as the committee’s upcoming manifesto for general practice and planned ‘roadshows’ which will take place in 10 England regions in June.

The GPCE chair also told NHS England: ‘We remain committed to finding mutually acceptable solutions to this dispute to benefit patients and practices and safeguard the long-term future of general practice in England.

‘I hope to discuss with you and the Government in the coming weeks how such action can be avoided.’

The BMA said this letter is a warning that ‘industrial action could be on the horizon’ unless NHS England makes ‘urgent improvements’ to the GP contract for 2024/25, which increased funding by 2%.

One of the ‘main areas of concern’ for the union is the allocation of Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding, under which practices cannot employ GPs.

The union said: ‘Practices already have access to a funding pot that lets them hire more staff, but not GPs. The contract could have changed this. This would also have helped relieve cases of locum and salaried doctor unemployment across the country.’

National rules on industrial action state that it happens ‘when trade union members are in a dispute with their employers that can’t be solved through negotiations’.

In order to formally initiate industrial action among GPs, the BMA must hold a ‘properly organised postal vote’- a ballot – which concludes that a majority of its members affected by the dispute supports action.

Unlike consultants and junior doctors, GP partners are not employed by the NHS – but legal experts told Pulse last year that the profession is able to take strike action.

In a statement on Wednesday, Dr Bramall-Stainer said this contract imposition ‘will do untold damage’ to the GP profession, making it ‘harder’ for practices to stay open.

‘We don’t want to take any kind of industrial action and hope it can be avoided, but the further NHS England and the Government get from working with us on solutions, the closer GPs get to taking action,’ she added.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

John Glasspool 17 April, 2024 9:19 pm

Gosh! One imagines the government is really worried.

neo 99 18 April, 2024 5:11 pm

It sound like it’s going to be a go slow squib.

So the bird flew away 18 April, 2024 8:41 pm

Yep, I’ve seen paint dry quicker than this…