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BMA to enter ‘serious discussions’ on next steps following contract imposition

BMA to enter ‘serious discussions’ on next steps following contract imposition

The BMA’s GP Committee has rejected the new GP contract for 2023/24 and will now have ‘serious discussions’ with its membership about next steps, which could include industrial action. 

Yesterday NHS England announced the new GP contract for the upcoming year, which the GPC has said is ‘the result of failure to listen to what GPs actually need’. 

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’.

Acting chair of GPC England Dr Kieran Sharrock said requirements like this introduce ‘more bureaucracy and arbitrary targets that only set practices up to fail and take GPs away from direct patient care’. 

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. 

Dr Sharrock said this contract will cause more GPs to leave, making a link between the Government ‘ignoring the profession’ and losing the equivalent of 2,000 full-time, fully qualified GPs in England. 

He said: ‘This hasn’t been properly considered, ramping up GP workload, and without the support needed, will lead to more GPs leaving the profession. 

‘Ultimately, it’s our patients who suffer most, and this means more of them will be left waiting longer for the care they desperately need.’

According to Dr Sharrock, the GPC had hoped to collaborate on contract negotiations, but has been repeatedly disappointed with the lack of support for struggling practices. 

Last month, the Committee rejected a version of the contract, calling it ‘insulting’, and Dr Sharrock said the recent meeting with the health secretary was merely a ‘tick-box exercise’.

Dr Sharrock added: ‘General practice can no longer be expected to take whatever is thrown at it, and the Committee’s recent rejection of the contract offer still stands. 

‘We will now look to enter serious discussions with our membership and the wider profession on what action we take next.’

Pulse reported last month that the BMA had set up a working group preparing for GP industrial action, understood to be floating options going further than before. 

Legal experts also told Pulse that GPs withdrawing services for a day, despite not being employed, is a possible option for some form of ‘strike’ action.

The new contract for 2023/24 also introduced two new roles to the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS), including advanced clinical practitioner nurses and apprentice physician associates.



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

Cameron Wilson 7 March, 2023 11:35 am

BMA you really are in “Last Chance Saloon” territory! Screw this up and there’s no workforce going forward! You will be just as culpable, perhaps more so, if you come up with some mealy mouthed nonsense like times before! The game has changed, seize the initiative, we are needed a lot more than the usual villains appreciate!

Andrew Marshall 7 March, 2023 1:06 pm

Totally agree with the comment above. The BMA hasn’t shown proper leadership for years Their fear of shouting charge and having nobody charging with them has made them impotent. They must take the risk of our colleagues being too scared to fight for their futures. The chance to fundamentally change the system is now and there is no future for them or us without it.

Dave Haddock 7 March, 2023 1:47 pm

The only discussion worth having is how to create a system that would enable GPs to continue to earn a living providing medical services outside the NHS, along the lines of Denplan perhaps.
The NHS is failing patients and doctors, time to move on.
Quite why HMG even bother talking to the BMA is a mystery, they are completely useless.

Fedup GP 7 March, 2023 1:57 pm

The access work is all in IIF and therefore is PCN funding? I appreciate that most funding will eventually end up with PCN’s (that is assuming they survive the next health shuffles after the next election) – but in the near term at least – can someone explain why we are spending even one second chasing this money (which can’t be taken as profits – just invested in services we can’t actually provide). Let the money go, concentrate on core GMS and let the ICB / NHSE / Wes / Steve worry about the rest.

Ashok Rayani 8 March, 2023 9:06 am

the only way out of the spiral of despair and decline of the existing contract is to either accept a salaried contract based on 37.5 “consultant type contract” or a 100 % item of service contract whereby HMG picks up the cost of increasing patient expectations and demands which HMG and the politicians generate for their own purposes. We are already “salaried in but name” but with none of the advantages enjoyed by other NHS employees but taking the financial and workload risks for “some limited so called independence”

Truth Finder 8 March, 2023 4:40 pm

BMA, take us private. I am sick of micro management and all the useless paper work and pretentious safeguarding.