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GPs ‘stunned’ by contract changes at first roadshow in England, says GPC

GPs were ‘resigned and despondent’ at the first of several GPC roadshows in England discussing how practices can cope with the contract changes set to be forced on them from April.

The GPC roadshows have been running in Wales and Scotland over the past week, but the first in England took place in Worcester last night, chaired by negotiator Dr Peter Holden.

Journalists were banned from the event by the BMA, but Pulse has learnt that around 150 GPs attended and that they were told they must become more business-savvy and only carry out the parts of the contract which are financially viable.

The message echoed the advice from GPC in December when it wrote to doctors telling them to consider the value of each QOF point before taking on any new work.

Commenting after the event, Dr Holden said: ‘I think some of them were quite stunned at the financial losses. GPs need to learn to look at what is being asked of them, and ask is this in the best interest of the patient, clinically and professionally, and then is it in the best interest of my practices.

‘It is time the profession learnt that we are independent contractors, we are not obliged to work at a loss. People must stand up on their own two feet. You stick to your terms of service, you stick to your contract, but remember the QOF for example is voluntary.’

Dr Grant Ingrams, a GP in Coventry who attended the Worcester event, said: ‘It was a useful networking experience. I saw a lot of colleagues I had not seen for a long time. Did I learn anything new? Not really, but it was interesting to hear what other GPs think.

‘I noticed a certain resignation and despondency. Anyone over 50 I spoke to was thinking about their pension, when they can afford to get out. The risk is that we end up with no GPs, and that is going to force the service to change beyond recognition.’