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We have ‘listened, acted and delivered’ in new contracts, says GPC chair

The BMA has ‘delivered’ on a number of GP demands – including reducing workload, increasing the workforce and bringing an end to austerity – the GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey will tell the LMC UK conference today.

Speaking in Belfast, Dr Vautrey will tell delegates from the four nations that general practice is ‘turning a corner’ following new contracts in England and Scotland, and changes in both Wales and Northern Ireland.

The GPC has not ‘flinched from the big challenges you set us’ and forced the Government to ‘not just talk about it but to do it’, Dr Vautrey will say.

Earlier this year, the new five-year GP contract in England was released, with vast changes to general practice, including mandated primary care networks of 30 – 50,000 patients, which practices will get funding to form.

The new Scottish contract was brought in last year, after 72% of GPs backed the deal, and included direct reimbursement of practice and staff expenses, a move away from GPs owning premises and a focus on the GP as an expert medical generalist at the head of a multidisciplinary team.

Addressing the conference, Dr Vautrey is set to say: ‘You wanted an end to annual contract tweaks and changes, you wanted a reduction in workload and an increase in workforce, you wanted to us to enable practices to respond to the growing digital challenges, and above all you wanted us to bring an end to over a decade of austerity, that has been so damaging for general practice and seen investment as a share of NHS spending fall at the same time the pressures on all us grow.

‘I’m here to tell you now that we’ve listened, we’ve acted and we have delivered.

‘With major contract changes in Scotland, England and increasingly elsewhere in the UK, we have not flinched from the big challenges you set us but we have set about convincing governments across the UK of the urgent need to invest in general practice and community-based services, and to not just talk about it but to do it.’

Dr Vautrey will then acknowledge that ‘much that needs and must be done’.

Talking about the response to the contract that he has seen at the roadshow events, Dr Vautrey will say: ‘I’ve had a real sense that growing numbers of GPs believe that we are finally turning a corner. There is light ahead of us.’

‘We are not there yet. We are far from complacent. There is much that needs and must be done. But, as GPCs and LMCs together, we will listen, we will act and we will deliver,’ he will add.