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GPC to survey GPs on contract changes

The GPC is set to survey GPs on the Government’s expected imposed changes to the 2013/14 GP contract.

In a new letter to practices sent out over the weekend, GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman wrote that the GPC is planning UK-wide roadshows in the New Year and a survey of GPs ‘to hear from you and inform our robust response to the Government’s consultation.’

The letter, which followed the latest GPC communication outlining how proposals may financially affect practices, focused on how the GPC expects the changes to affect GP workload.

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Buckman said the ‘size of the Government’s imposition’ will determine what the GPC will survey GPs on but said the first thing will be to review what the Government plans to do. He said he is expecting the Government to outline their plans this week, although the Government has not confirmed that.

Following this, the GPC intends to analyse the imposition with economists after which Dr Buckman will write a longer, more detailed letter to practice and launch a survey.

Dr Buckman said: ‘I can’t tell you what it will include, it will depend on what the imposition is. It will be a mixture of questions, exactly what they will be will rather depend on what happens when we get the imposition. I am absolutely interested in the views of GPs and I would hope they all reply.’

In the latest letter, Dr Buckman warned of ‘early indications’ that suggest the DH also wants to introduce enhanced services that will create ‘major new work’ for dementia patients, risk profiling and self-monitoring for long-term conditions in addition to disputed plans to increase online access.

The priority areas were mentioned in Dame Barbara Hakin’s letter which first outlined Government proposals for changes to the contract in October, presented by the DH as part of the NHS mandate unveiled last month, and have been recurring themes recent DH addresses.

Dr Buckman’s letter read: ‘Clearly the health departments want GPs to take on more work, although the BMA has repeatedly told them that GPs are already workload saturated. Further details of the Government’s plans are expected imminently. I will write to you again once I have received these.

‘This will be followed by detailed analysis and guidance to help your practice navigate and cope with the changes. The GPC is planning UK-wide roadshows in the New Year and a survey of GPs to hear from you and inform our robust response to the Government’s consultation.’

The DH initially said it would launch formal consultation on the proposals by the end of November, however the release of details is still pending.

Dr Buckman said he is not aware when the DH will launch the consultation. ‘I don’t know, but I am assuming it will be this week. When it comes we’re very unlikely to make any statement as it hits the decks. There won’t be any immediate reaction, because we will need to carefully look at it with economists,’ he added.

It comes as Pulse reported earlier this week that the GPC scotched rumours it will stage a commissioning boycott to put pressure on the Government not to impose contract changes on the profession.

To read the letter click here.