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GP contract proposals likely to be forced on practices without major changes, says FDA chair

Exclusive The Government is likely to push ahead with imposing the GP contract in England without making any significant changes, the chair of the Family Doctor Association has warned after speaking with the NHS Commissioning Board.

Dr Peter Swinyard said he came to the conclusion after speaking with Dame Barbara Hakin, national director for commissioning development at the NHS Commissioning Board, last week.

The Family Doctor Association was one of several organisations to make critical submissions to the Department of Health’s consultation on their proposed changes to the 2013/14 GP contract that closed last week, alongside the GPC, the NHS Alliance and individual GPs.

They had warned that the proposed GP contract imposition in England will erode holistic patient care and demoralise GPs.

After the ‘forceful’ conversation with Dame Barbara, Dr Swinyard said he concluded the GP contract changes in England, as proposed by the DH, were on course to go through without any major changes.

He told Pulse: ‘I did talk to Barbara, I did express my views, fairly forcefully. My personal view after the conversation is that the contract will go through pretty much unchanged apart from tweaks to reflect the consultation.’

Dr Swinyard stressed this was his personal view and that Dame Barbara did not enter any opinion one way or the other as to the outcome of the consultation.

Dame Barbara and the NHS Commissioning Board did not wish to comment on the conversation, but the DH said they would announce the outcome of the consultation ‘shortly’.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘Our proposed changes to the GP contract are designed to improve the care offered to patients.

‘We have recently concluded a consultation, which has allowed us to hear the views of GPs and other stakeholders - we will announce the outcome of the consultation shortly.’

With no further negotiations on the GP contract underway between the GPC and the Government, contract terms are due to be imposed from 1 April.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘If this is a genuine consultation we expect the Government to listen to the grave concerns that GPC, GPs and patients have about the impact of a contract imposition.

‘They should not repeat the mistakes highlighted by the Francis Report and pull back from putting targets before patient care. There is still time for them to demonstrate that they have learnt this lesson.’

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