Exclusive Almost half of GPs are still willing to submit undated resignations, despite the multibillion-pound ‘Forward View’ announced by NHS England last week.
A Pulse survey of 524 English GPs found that 45% would still support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice, while a further one in four are undecided.
This is only a small decrease on the 49% who said that they would be willing to resign their contracts in December 2015.
The Special LMC Conference in January voted for the GPC to canvass support for submitting undated resignation letters if the Government fails to implement a ‘rescue package’ for general practice within six months.
Last week, Pulse exclusively revealed that the GPC was still considering the threat of mass resignation following the announcement of the General Practice Forward View, which committed £2.4bn extra funding a year by 2020 plus a £500m support package.
Today’s poll reveals that GP support for the so-called ‘nuclear option’ is maintained, with the percentage of GPs ruling mass resignation out decreasing from 35% in December to 29% today.
The number of GPs who are undecided has increased, with a separate question revealing that 48% of GPs are unsure on their support of the Forward View. Of the rest, exactly the same number support the Forward View as oppose it.
What is the General Practice Forward View?
NHS England’s new plan for general practice was announced last week, and committed £2.4bn extra funding a year by 2020 for general practice, and a £508m rescue package over five years.
Alongside this, it has cut the frequency of CQC inspections and introduced measures to prevent hospitals from dumping work onto practices.
However, GPs have said it is short on detail and emergency funding, and have questioned how it will be delivered in practice.
GPs said that the Forward View didn’t provide enough emergency funding.
Dr Ben Garland, a GP partner in north London, said: ‘I was waiting to see what it contained. Three make or break points were ignored: Crown indemnity; new money now to stave off disaster; stop all cost dumping from secondary care. As none of these have occurred I have announce my resignation as of August 2017, aged 56.’
Dr Robert Addlestone, a GP partner in Leeds, said: ‘It’s a difficult question. The public might not support us if we resign en masse, but as time goes on and they can’t get an appointment to see a GP maybe the penny will drop eventually and they will understand the dire state of general practice.’
However, Dr Elizabeth Jones, a GP partner in Norfolk, said: ‘I am not sure what this would achieve. We live in a different world than the 1960s when mass resignation was threatened. And the private providers are hovering like vultures.’
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul last week told Pulse that ‘the clock was still ticking’ on the potential for mass resignation.
He said: ’We will make sure we hold NHS England to account to deliver on [the proposals], but it is weak in terms of immediate help for practices and that’s something we will be lobbying for and negotiating for in coming months.’
On the other hand, the RCGP warmly welcomed the Forward View, describing it as perhaps the ‘most significant announcement for general practice since the 1960s’.
Do you support the General Practice Forward View?
Yes: 26% (137)
No: 26% (137)
Don’t know: 52% (250)
Following the announcement of the General Practice Forward View, would you support mass resignation from the NHS due to the current state of general practice?
Yes: 45% (233)
No: 29% (155)
Don’t know: 26% (136)
The survey was launched on 28 April 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 24 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Samsung HD TV as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 524 GPs answered this question.