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‘New deal’ backlash begins with petition attracting 2,000 signatures

An open letter condemning the Government’s ‘new deal for general practice’ has accrued more than 2,000 signatures in a matter of days as GPs took to social media to criticise the ‘#GPnodeal’.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter will continue the backlash on the opening day of the BMA Annual Representatives Meeting today, saying that the ‘new deal’ is ‘trumpeting’ old ideas, without investing in existing out-of-hours provision or workforce.

The #GPnodeal letter, started by Pulse blogger Dr Samir Dawlatly, said that pledging an extra year of training in hospitals will delay qualification for urgently needed GPs, and other plans to recruit 5,000 GPs will not materialise until the DH addresses the long-running under-investment in primary care.

The letter, which had 2,232 signatures by Monday morning, states: ‘Nothing in this so-called “new deal” will help us with our real and present struggle to manage Monday to Friday services given current levels of demand. Extending hours will actually cause the loss of continuity of care as services are spread more thinly.’

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They propose that, instead of the promise of more GPs, workforce data, and a recovery package for struggling practices the DH and NHS England should consider:

  • increasing investment in primary care to 11% of the NHS budget;
  • investing in existing out-of-hour services that help provide a seven-day-a-week GP service, by tackling medical indemnity costs and improving access to medical records;
  • scrapping unnecessary regulation by the CQC;
  • improving GP morale, by refraining from negative press stories.

And speaking at the ARM today, Dr Porter will say: ‘Last Friday, we were told once again that GP surgeries will open seven days a week, 12 hours a day. They talk about GPs doing even more, when thousands already work in out-of-hours services, propping up the NHS.’

‘The Government is trumpeting its “new deal for GPs”. Who are they kidding? These proposals are neither new nor a deal, but old, repackaged ideas distracting from the central issues.

‘When will they provide substance over rhetoric and recycled ideas, to focus on the detail of how they will support GPs already burnt out from overwork, in a service where more than 10,000 GPs are predicted to leave in the next five years? They don’t say.​’