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Labour Government must agree new GP contract, says BMA

Labour Government must agree new GP contract, says BMA

The Labour Government must agree a new GP contract with the BMA ‘to stabilise primary care’ in England, the union has said.

BMA council chair Professor Phil Banfield wrote to newly-appointed health secretary Wes Streeting demanding that the Government and the union ‘work together to get the NHS back on its feet’.

He said he was hopeful about the restoration of ‘the family doctor and continuity of care’ in general practice as promised by Labour, but said that to ‘stabilise primary care’, a new contract must be ‘mutually agreed’ between the Government and GPs.

In a post on X, the union said: ‘Our GP committee looks forward to sitting down to discuss the changes required to provide the sustainability that primary care so urgently needs, via a mutually agreed contract and new settlement for general practice.’

The BMA clarified to Pulse that it was not referring to the disputed 2024/25 GP contract but rather a completely new national GP contract, which will take some time to discuss and agree.

It comes after the GP committee England chair revealed BMA will not accept another multi-year contract deal with the Government ‘anytime now’, explaining that GPC negotiators would turn down any attempts by the next government to negotiate long-term pay deals.

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.

In his letter, Professor Banfield also asked the new Government to ‘pay attention to the dangers doctors have been raising’ on medical associate professions (MAPs), including physician associates, which ‘have been ignored by the previous administration’.

He said: ‘MAPs are being employed across the NHS without any defined national scope of practice, posing a real and present patient safety risk.

‘The profession will be looking for you to take urgent action; the dangerous substitution of doctors must be stopped.’

Mr Streeting was appointed as the first Labour health secretary in 14 years on Friday, after very narrowly holding on to his parliamentary seat.

Last month, he promised that general practice ‘has a lot to look forward to’ under a Labour Government and also said that GP concerns around the role of physician associates (PAs) need to be ‘seriously’ addressed and that Labour will look at reviewing the ARRS scheme.

In his first statement as health secretary, Mr Streeting said that the policy of the Department of Health and Social Care is ‘that the NHS is broken’.

‘That is the experience of patients who are not receiving the care they deserve, and of the staff working in the NHS who can see that – despite giving their best – this is not good enough,’ he added.

He also said he spoke over the phone with the BMA junior doctors committee and that ‘talks to end their industrial action’ will begin this week.

In a statement on Friday, the BMA junior doctors committee said: ‘We were pleased to speak to new health secretary to get the ball rolling on negotiating a solution to our dispute – and we have agreed meeting next week. As we have always been clear, only a credible offer, acceptable to our members, will do.’