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‘Positive’ BMA meeting with new NHS chief fails to resolve GP dispute

industrial action

A ‘constructive’ meeting between the BMA and NHS England’s new chief executive has failed to bring GPs back to negotiations, Pulse has learned.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse he has had a ‘positive discussion’ with Amanda Pritchard about the significant workload issues impacting general practice.

However, a BMA spokesperson confirmed that negotiations between the parties are not back on the cards as yet.

It follows an ongoing dispute between the BMA and NHS England after ‘tone deaf’ and ‘insulting’ letter was issued along with an update to the standard operating procedure, saying that practices must offer all patients face-to-face appointments if that is their preference, while receptions must be open for walk-ins.

GPs were furious about the content and timing of the letter which came after several rows about communication with the profession and amidst media reports suggesting GP practices were closed.

A vote of ‘no confidence’ by BMA members in NHS England’s leadership resulted in a pause on formal meetings between the two which still remains in place.

Ms Pritchard was appointed as Sir Simon Stevens’ successor at the end of July – the first woman to head the NHS.

The BMA GP committee had called for talks with Ms Pritchard in a bid to break the deadlock that has been in place since May.

Ms Pritchard, who previously had been NHS England’s chief operating officer and chief executive of NHS Improvement has spoken of the challenges facing the NHS as it continues to deal with ‘significant pressures while maintaining the roll-out of the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and tackle backlogs that have inevitably built up in the face of rising Covid infections’.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘I was pleased to meet the new chief executive of NHS England and Improvement so soon after her appointment.

‘We discussed the many issues impacting general practice, not least the significant workload pressures we are all experiencing as we deal with the impact of the pandemic and the NHS care backlog.

‘It was a positive discussion and I stressed the importance of supporting general practice both with words and action, something she seemed to take on board.

‘We hope that this constructive exchange will be the first steps along the road that paves the way for further work to rebuild our relations with NHSEI after the last few fractious months.’

Pulse reported in June that the BMA was still waiting for a response that would ‘restore confidence’ in NHS England following the fallout.


Vinci Ho 13 August, 2021 1:02 pm

Logically , one would always expect a ‘ceasefire’ first before going to negotiation table to sign any ‘treaty’ 🤨🤔🧐👿😈

Patrufini Duffy 13 August, 2021 1:23 pm

It is ok Richard if they don’t listen.
Low GP morale = higher referrals = collapse of hospital = everyone’s waiting = public dissatisfaction and morbidity = blame the GPs = more referrals = complete anarchy = GPs reduce sessions = private contract for “innovation” and disintegration.

This IS the plan.
Let’s just get it out on the table in adult language, not baby talk.

Decorum Est 13 August, 2021 3:35 pm

Have they changed the meaning of the word ‘constructive’?
‘promoting improvement or development’ – Merriam-Webster dictionary since 1828.
I.e. ‘not waffling’

Thomas Robinson 13 August, 2021 6:00 pm

As Paul Newman so eloquently explained, to Robert Redford
The key to the big con, is that the mark must not know he has been taken. He should feel it was a constructive, positive experience. He should feel pleased and feel progress has been made.

In short he should be utterly oblivious of the sting.

The government will only negotiate with the BMA, thus guaranteeing an intellectual advantage.

Dr Vautrey trained and has been assessed as a doctor, not a negotiator.

One wonders, if any GP negotiator, has ever been engaged, by any organisation of any kind, union, corporation, legal firm, backstreet solicitor as a negotiator. Has any independant organisation ever said, these guys know what they are doing, let’s hire them to negotiate for us. Is it entirely beyond the wit of the profession, to hire a professional. Someone who demonstrably knows what they are doing and has a track record to prove it.

I would respectfully suggest, that with a little imagination, Dominic Cummings probably knows how to get the job done, and may be available.

terry sullivan 16 August, 2021 11:57 am

so–how was the meeting positive?

qhy was an insider appointed and who appointed her?

should have been an outsider with successful business experience in private sector–not from the healthcare sector

Patrufini Duffy 16 August, 2021 3:13 pm

You want to make someone listen? You know the ones, the wine drinkers, party dressers and blue suiters and shoulder rubbers. Just increase your referral rates. It’s that simple. Like a pingball machine. Deflect. Deflect. Deflect. It’s called a patient choice agenda…doors wide open.

Finola ONeill 17 August, 2021 1:23 pm

Yes, almost the same week NHSE’s letter instructing us to see patients face to face and now monitoring us on this, NHSE instructed us to offer 24/7 digital triage/consults and then at the same time suggested rolling out GP at hand throughout the NHS to assist in digital consultations. NHSE + Hancock/govt clearly have links with these private GP digital tech companies. The plan is overload us with the grunt work, the actual real work of face to faces, long term complex management and long term patient engagement. Cream off the simple digital consults that are younger/uncomplex patients and consults while ripping off the tax payers for a crappy 24/7 digital service they don’t need or probably even want. While digital companies piggy back on to these digital GP services and do who knows what with data while developing AI tools in said consultations. IC-24, google them, Doing a big chink of my OOH calls in Devon, rolling nationally and one of their pages talks about developing emotion voice recognition tools on the consultations, to assess patients satisfaction. What happened to marks/10 or friends and family test. I tell you what happened. This emotion recognition tool is valuable digital software/products, that can be rolled out across any sector of the market or sales. And note. These digital tech companies take over the GP service companies. They don’t offer to make products for them. The GP providers don’t take over the digital tech companies. The digital tech companies take over the GP private providers. Often who started out as some “entrepeneurial GPs”, also often providing OOH services as “social enterprises” or private companies. Ask yourself how this never gets looked at? Utter corruption. Hancock, (her aide’s brother runs a private OOH NHS service, google it), Dido Harding, GP at hand, Babylon Health, NHSE. Utterly corrupt the lot. AI, health data, big money. Imagine Big Pharma and access to NHS data, GP data etc. Why pay for a stain trial when you can just use GP data for our millions on statins? What’s happened to the big data share and NHSx? They’ve gone quiet. I suspect too much spotlight on them because data is already being shared form GP records, this was just bigger grab. I wonder what exactly is being shared already. Hospital data is being shared too. NHSx was created to coordinate NHS data sharing because some hospitals were selling it directly. There was a HSJ article on it. If part data is shared the set loses value. NHS data is full health population set. very valuable. Not sure anywhere else has that because nowhre else has a national health system, so no national data set. Go figure.

C Ovid 17 August, 2021 2:02 pm

@Patrufini Duffy: I agree. So why don’t we just acknowledge what is coming and perhaps run towards it… or engineer its arrival by failing to hold someone else’s sh*tstorm together any longer. Covid is the best ever chance for the NHS leadership and the Govt to blame someone else for the death of the NHS. They need to get a move on if they want to conflate the 2 events. I am just a Doctor. I do not belong to the NHS and would welcome a better system (as long as it is equitable at the front line): certainly the current system is cruel, inefficient and has dreadful customer service., guaranteeing shocking outcomes. And it’s going to get worse in the next 12 months. I’m still working 10 sessions by the way, 3 of which are OOH!

C Ovid 17 August, 2021 2:03 pm

…”I do not belong to the NHS” meaning I work in it but bonded labour is not legal in the UK.

terry sullivan 19 August, 2021 10:30 am

c ovid–you are owned–nwo

Roger Boyle 25 August, 2021 12:05 am

This doesn’t sound like “constructive negotiations”
It is also strange there has been so much bad PR on the Talk Radio Stations and the Press about poor GP services. Sadly some clinicians in Secondary have joined in.
Is it a coincidence??