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GPC passes motion calling for halt on meetings with NHSE over F2F fallout


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The BMA’s GP Committee has voted to pause all meetings with NHS England until the disagreement around face-to-face appointments in practices is resolved.

An emergency motion, revealed exclusively by Pulse yesterday, said the GPC has ‘no confidence’ in NHS England’s executive directors.

It was passed overwhelmingly at GPC England’s online meeting today.

Announcing the result in a statement, the BMA said GP leaders had delivered a ‘damning vote of no confidence in NHS England leadership over [its] failure to support general practice’.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘For the representatives of England’s GPs to pass a vote of no confidence in NHS England’s senior leaders, is a clear wake-up call to NHS England and also for the Government. 

‘Without doubt, the motivation for this comes entirely from the widespread anger, frustration and disappointment felt by tens of thousands of GPs about the cavalier ways in which they have been treated and badly let down by the Government and NHS England.’

The ‘woefully badly-judged letter’ sent to practices last week was ‘the final straw for many hard-working GPs who have gone above and beyond over the last year’, he added.

He said: ‘For NHS England to glibly announce that practices should now see even more patients face-to-face without providing anything in the way of extra support or guidance on how to continue to protect patients and staff from the risk of a potentially lethal virus, is at best nonsense, but at worst extremely dangerous.

‘The profession has had enough of ill-conceived top-down directives that fail to consider the day-to-day reality in scores of doctors’ surgeries. NHS England and the Government must shoulder the responsibility and face the reality of years of failing to value, support and invest in general practice to ensure that GPs and their teams have the capacity to meet the growing needs of the population.’

Dr Vautrey added: ‘This motion sounds a much-needed warning bell, rung by GPs at the end of their tether, emotionally and physically exhausted by the past 14 months. 

‘The onus is now on NHS England and ministers to fix a broken system so that patients as well as doctors have a GP service that is fit for purpose in every way.’

It follows calls among grassroots GPs for the resignation of NHS England’s medical director for primary care amid the furore created by its letter – with a petition to that effect racking up over a thousand signatures so far.

And the BMA has this week called for an ‘urgent meeting’ with the health secretary to seek clarity regarding face-to-face GP appointment advice.

Motion in full

GPC England is outraged by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s lack of understanding of the pressures facing General Practice and:

  • i) Calls for formal BMA action by escalating concerns about NHS England’s apparent lack of knowledge of the applicable contracts and regulations relating to the delivery of General Practice services
  • ii) Seeks both senior explanation and public action from the Department of Health and Social Care in view of the unacceptable decision to publish letter BO497 on 13 May 2021
  • iii) Has no confidence in the Executive Directors of NHS England
  • iv) Calls upon the Chair of BMA UK Council to support the Chair of GPC England in demanding an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, to discuss the spiralling crisis in General Practice
  • v) Calls for GPC England’s Executive to immediately cease all formal meetings with NHS England until a motion is brought back to GPC England by the Executive, requesting a vote on their recommendation that sufficient steps have been taken to restore the Committee’s confidence in the Executive Directors of NHS England, to justify the resumption of such meetings.

Source: BMA

READERS' COMMENTS [8]

Concerned GP 20 May, 2021 1:41 pm

NHSE seem incapable of understanding what it’s like at the coal face of general practice and medicine in general. Sitting in ivory towers sending out diktats and pandering to the media is about all they are good at. Since the start of the pandemic they have shown that they are out of touch with the ground reality and are not really fit for purpose. What is worse now with the letter last week is that many patients are very aggressively demanding face to face consultation for anything and everything and I’m sorry to say but some are being extremely rude and threatening. Face to face NEVER stopped and the difference was that we have been triaging to safely bring patients in. That letter and the actions of NHSE have served to further cheapen general practice and I just can’t understand how they felt it was ok to throw their colleagues under the bus like that.

John Graham Munro 20 May, 2021 2:36 pm

On a lighter note———Did you hear that irritating television GP (known as the Pandemic Pinup) trying to explain why a grossly obese girl was diagnosed as having anorexia—–apparently it is an Atypical Eating Disorder—–I’ll say

David Turner 20 May, 2021 2:50 pm

NHSE are the government’s lap dogs and have always been out of touch with proper GPs.
The doctors who work in it do so seemingly because they cannot hack it on the front-line doing useful clinical work which they were trained to do.
Much easier to take a cushy job as a pen pusher spending your days sending ill-informed emails to those of us actually doing proper work.
They are a shameful disgrace and as far as I can see beyond money, they have one single motivation….gong!

Patrufini Duffy 20 May, 2021 3:48 pm

Well done. Progress.

Nick Mann 20 May, 2021 4:27 pm

This at last us standing up for the professsion, and if we want a future for medically-led General Practice, we must. Well done GPC.

Nicholas Sharvill 20 May, 2021 5:41 pm

Whilst I am as irritated as all by NHSE comments there have been practices that have refused all F2F contacts during covid or so people ringing CCAS have said and this was backed up by the CCAS drs trying to get appointments after ringing the surgery. There are still practices who are reluctant to see people with infections. They may be the tiny minority but they cause the rest of the profession to suffer the flack.
Trying to gain access to practices for many is still very time consuming due to lengths of messages re covid and jabs often meaning all phone lines are blocked.

Do I have a solution-no- but from a patients point of view access to primary care is not easy, and working clinically remote and e consults increases total workload, as does trying to keep up to date with pcn newsletters NHSE and CCG newsletters and all their links.

Samir Shah 20 May, 2021 7:29 pm

https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/technology/gp-practices-must-have-online-consultation-forms-switched-on-at-all-times-says-nhse/

Another example of how NHSE doesn’t support general practicez whilst giving empty gestures of support.
Thank you. We really need support to push back non contractual work.

Finola ONeill 27 May, 2021 7:45 pm

Prior to the Pandemic some surgeries had a 4-6 week wait for a routine appt. The system was broken by long term underfunding and under support. Pandemic made it worse. I don’t believe any practices are not doing face to faces. They may be screening for people with fever or cough and may be reviewing them remotely. Any decent GP with any clinical acumen can fully assess by phone/video consult. During height of Pandemic many patients had a pulse ox. The face2face thing is a complete red herring. Patients think we do a lot more than we do actually do by seeing them face to face, they love it bless them, but until they were vaccinated and covid levels were low FACE TO FACES WERE UNSAFE FOR THEM. Grow up. 1/3 or more with covid had no symptoms. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE BASICS OF COVID, EPIDEMIOLOGY AND INFECTION CONTROL. GIVE ME STRENGTH