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GPC negotiators will not accept another multi-year contract deal, says chair

GPC negotiators will not accept another multi-year contract deal, says chair

The BMA’s GP Committee England will not accept another multi-year contract deal with the Government ‘anytime now’, its chair has said.

Speaking at an online roadshow yesterday evening, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer said that the five-year pay deal – which provided a 2% year-on-year funding rise from 2019-2024 – had contributed to pay erosion for partners and salaried GPs.

As a result, she said, GPC England negotiators would turn down any attempts by the next government to negotiate long-term pay deals.

She also countered claims that the BMA’s plans for industrial action would not be enough to bring about change, saying that if enough practices took part it would bring the NHS ‘to a standstill’.

The roadshow was set up to explain how practices can take part in ‘collective action’ expected  to commence on 1 August, depending on the result of a ballot which will close on Monday 29 July.

Dr Bramall-Stainer said that the call to collective action ‘hasn’t suddenly happened’ but that GPs ‘have been slowly boiled for over a decade’.

She said: ‘This is not just about you as partners, you’ve got salaried GPs out there who have also had pay erosion over many years because we’ve been locked into a zero sum game in the GMS contract.

‘We’re fighting and scrambling for scraps amongst an ever-decreasing amount that goes into practices.’

She added: ‘We’re not going to accept a multi-year deal anytime now, I’ll tell you that as well.

‘You are the cavalry that we’re going to be depending on, because a future in this primary care is not GP-led.

‘It is multi-episodic, fragmented, devolved – in a centre where you’ve got one GP supervising a whole team of multidisciplinary colleagues.’

She also addressed concerns that the options proposed by the BMA for GP collective action might not seem enough to make a real difference.

She said: ‘There are so many of us delivering so much that some of you might think the actions that we’re asking you to take probably don’t seem enough.

‘I’ll tell you now, if they are taken by the majority of practices, in the majority of options on the majority of the time, they will be enough – they will bring the NHS to a standstill.’

As revealed by Pulse, the examples include refusing to engage in advice and guidance and seeing patients ‘face to face as a default’.

The GPC said it is up to practices to choose which actions to take from a menu of actions proposed by the union.

As apart of collective action, the GPC will be ‘inviting GP partners to work with their practice management team’ and, working in liaison with their LMC, ‘determine the actions they will be willing to take’.

Dr Bramall-Stainer added: ‘We’re GPs, we’re patient-centred, we don’t like conflict and confrontation, we don’t want to do industrial action.

‘That’s why we’re asking you to protect your practice and protect your patients. But make no mistake, this is premeditated, disruptive, collective action.

‘This is industrial action we’ll be asking you to take. But of paramount importance, you will not risk breach notices by following our advice.

‘And if you do follow this advice, you will be protecting your patients, and you will instead be burning holes in NHS England spreadsheets.’

The committee indicated that this will be a ‘first phase’ of action, and that ‘further escalation’ beyond a non-statutory ballot can be stopped if the Government agrees to make ‘contractual improvements’ in 2024/25 and restore GP funding to 2018/19 levels.

But ‘phase two’ could involve ‘escalation’ to contract breach actions, ‘action short of strike’ and ‘strike action’, which may include salaried GPs, registrar GPs and or other practice staff.

The GPC’s asks of Government will be summarised in a ‘vision document’ being launched at a roadshow at BMA House on Thursday 18 July.

It follows a referendum by the GPCE which found that 99% of GPs did not agree with the recent contract imposition, as well as the committee officially declaring a ‘dispute’ with NHS England.



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

Lochend Lad 28 June, 2024 12:38 pm

The GPC need to get the message across to the Labour Government and NHSE, plus the general public that General Practice is facing an existential crisis. This needs the BMA to wage a high profile campaign in the media to get that message across. Waiting until the negotiators sit down in a back room with the Dept of Health will tesult in nothing more than a token couple of percent.

Turn out The Lights 28 June, 2024 2:32 pm

The last multi-year contract has done its job.Its no existenstial its an extinction level event.

Truth Finder 28 June, 2024 3:48 pm

Strikes work. Barristers got 15% with no fight. The consultants and juniors too got a rise. GP partners suffered cost rises and effective pay reduction. We’ve had enough. The BMA now need to show us what to do collectively.

Just My Opinion 28 June, 2024 7:05 pm

The multi year deal was not the problem. We were crying out for a multi year deal to provide stability.
The disaster was the stupid, utterly naive decision not to link the rise to inflation. This was the reason for pay erosion, not the deal itself.
It should have been 1.5% plus inflation per year. Or it could have been 2% per year or inflation, whichever was higher (a ‘double lock’), this would have protected pay.
So now we have a misunderstanding of what made the multi year deal fail, and will as a result go back to yearly contracts with constant changes to keep up with, which everyone hated.
This is a step backwards.

Waseem Jerjes 30 June, 2024 4:15 pm

GPs deserve better contract terms that reflect their hard work and dedication. The previous multi-year deals have led to pay erosion, making it unsustainable for many. Collective action is essential to demand fair compensation and resources. Without these changes, the future of primary care is at risk. GPs must stand together to ensure their voices are heard and their contributions valued.