The BMA is surveying GPs on whether the proposed contract changes could make them leave the NHS, as it prepares to draw up its response to the Government’s official consultation ahead of a possible imposition.
The question is included in the BMA’s survey of members which was emailed out to GPs in England yesterday, which also asks if respondents would consider swapping a partnership role for a sessional position, moving abroad or taking early retirement.
The findings of the survey will inform the BMA’s submission to the Government’s consultation on the issue, which closes on 26 February.
Questions asked in the survey include: what actions GP practices may need to take in the face of these proposals, including decisions about staffing levels and the services they provide to patients; whether GPs will consider making changes to their personal circumstances, including leaving the NHS; and how these changes affect GPs’ views of the future of general practice.
The BMA has warned the Government that GPs are already struggling with a heavy workload and that the proposed changes will exacerbate the pressure on general practice. It has also said many of the proposed contract changes are unnecessary or unworkable.
Among the questions, the BMA asks what actions individual GPs expect to take. The options are: ‘I shall make changes to the amount of work I undertake’; ‘I shall seek a post as a sessional GP (locum or salaried) if currently a contractor’; or ‘I shall leave the NHS’.
It also asks GPs who said they would leave the NHS what they expect they will go on to do. It asks ‘if you leave the NHS will you: Seek work as a doctor in another country/seek work in a different career/or take retirement earlier than planned?’
GP chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘The BMA wants to hear directly from GPs who will have to deal with the implications of these proposed changes on their practice and patients.’
‘Our research has shown that the average practice could lose £31,000 in funding and face substantial extra demands on workload at time when many are already struggling to cope with years of contracting practice budgets. It is important that we build up a clear picture of how these policies are going to affect the way GP practices are able to deliver services to their local communities.’
‘I would strongly urge all GPs to take a few minutes to fill in this survey and encourage their colleagues to do the same. The BMA has a number of online resources designed to give GPs the facts about the proposals, including a ready reckoner that helps give GPs an estimate of how their practice might be affected financially. We also will be holding a series of roadshows across the country where GPs can put their questions to the BMA about this important issue.’
The Scottish GPC has agreed on a separate, altered 2013/14 GP contract deal, while Welsh GPs have rejected a watered-down proposal from its Government. The Northern Irish Government is expecting to launch its consultation to impose terms later this month.