The BMA will begin rolling out a major PR campaign in GP surgeries today in a bid to fight back against damaging Government pronouncements by giving patients ‘the real story’ behind the widespread changes to the NHS.
The campaign, which comes in the wake of the GP contract imposition and GPs coming under fire for ‘poor provision’ amid the out-of-hours care row, will see GPs invited to hang posters in their surgeries directing patients to new BMA website changingnhs.com.
On the website, patients will find information from the BMA about what is changing in the NHS in England and how it might affect them, including information on competition and patient choice, NHS funding, the GP contract and out-of-hours services, as well as doctors’ views on these changes.
The BMA said that the campaign was the first phase of a longer-term programme to involve the public in the debate over the future of general practice. The programme will also include an MP-GP visit scheme which invites MPs to spend time in a practice in their constituency to see what’s happening on the ground and to talk directly to practice staff about their priorities and concerns.
GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘The NHS is experiencing a period of profound change as it tries to absorb the impact of the Health and Social Care Act and unprecedented pressure from rising patient demand and an increasingly tight financial climate. General practice in particular is facing a testing time as it comes to terms with the introduction of clinical commissioning groups, imposed changes to the GP contract and continued pressure on out-of-hours services.’
‘GPs feel that our patients aren’t getting the real story about what is happening in the NHS which is why the BMA is launching this initiative. In a turbulent world, it is vital that GPs play a key role in giving patients the information they need about how their NHS is changing. We will be building on this initiative over the coming months, as we respond to the impact of the changes and pressures and as we seek to develop a positive way forward for general practice for our patients.’
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