Dr George Rae, chair of the BMA’s north-east regional council and a GP in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, remembers the turmoil that followed the new GP contract in 1990.
The political turmoil in 1990 caused by Kenneth Clarke’s decision to impose a new contract was a low point for the profession.
We at the GMSC rejected the contract, but he decided to push forward with it anyway, and I first heard about it on the radio.
It caused huge antagonism between the medical profession and the Department of Health.
Then there was the internal market and the purchaser/provider split. It led to a BMA campaign with posters of Kenneth Clarke saying ‘What do you call a politician who won’t listen to medical advice?’
The relationship only began to improve with the introduction of out-of-hours cooperatives in the mid-nineties.
1990 was a real nadir for the profession.
Dr George Rae