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GPC accused of ‘abandoning’ UK contract

NHS Employers has accused the GPC of ‘abandoning’ the UK contract, after deals were agreed with the health departments in Wales and Scotland.

The claim has been rejected by the GPC, which blamed the Department of Health for attempting to ‘force a draconian imposition’ onto English GPs.

The claims come after the GPC has warned that practices in Northern Ireland face the worst contract changes of all UK countries, after the Northern Ireland Executive said it would impose an even greater QOF workload than that proposed for GPs in England.

NHS Employers director Dean Royles said: ‘The GPC has clearly now abandoned a UK approach to negotiating changes to the GP contract. Whilst Scotland and Wales have settled, England intends to continue consulting on a package of proposals that seek to deliver a significant improvement in services for patients.’

But GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘The BMA has always wanted a properly thought out, UK wide agreement that met the challenges faced by modern general practice.

‘The BMA took part in five months of negotiations with NHS Employers that in October 2012 were close to agreeing a set of UK proposals that would have benefitted patients. The Government then decided to end these talks and instead announced its intention to press ahead with a number of wide ranging changes to the GP contract, many of which are unnecessary or unworkable. It is disingenuous to suggest that the BMA walked away from talks.

‘Fortunately, the Scottish and Welsh governments decided to take a constructive approach and through proper talks have reached agreements with the BMA in those nations. 

‘The Government is however still attempting to force a draconian imposition onto English GPs We have already told the Department of Health that we are willing to have further meaningful dialogue about the situation facing English GPs, but we have not heard anything yet that gives us confidence that this offer will be taken up.’

A DH spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to improving patient care and making sure high standards of care are more consistent across the country. Our proposals have been designed to reflect this. We are waiting for the GPC in England to respond to our consultations or to resume negotiations. The Government will make final decisions on the changes it will make following the end of the consultation period.’