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‘GPs will be stunned and angered’ at breakdown in talks, says GPC

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has hit back angrily at the Government’s announcement on the GP contract, and warned practices they face a ‘threatened imposition’.

Dr Buckman said the Deaprtment of Health had been ‘disingenuous’ in its explanation for the breakdown, which he claimed was due to last-minute amendments to a deal which was close to being agreed.

He said: ‘GPs will be stunned and angered that the Government is disregarding five months of detailed negotiations between the BMA and NHS Employers which was in its final stages just a couple of weeks ago. The Government must urgently rethink its approach and return to our negotiated settlement that was so close to being concluded.’

‘The implications of the Government’s new proposals for general practice are likely to be huge, and we will be examining the consequences of this threatened imposition so that we can fully inform the profession and public as soon as possible. There are serious question marks over whether some of the intended changes are based on sound clinical evidence or are practical or feasible.’

Dr Buckman also said the proposals, which include a 1.5% uplift in practice funding in exchange for additional workload and a series of sweeping changes to the QOF, failed to recognise that ‘many practices are already stretched to breaking point’.

‘For all practices, the changes will place an enormous strain on GPs at a time when they are struggling under the weight of a wholesale NHS reorganisation, especially the implementation of CCGs.’

‘Doctors recognise that we are in tough economic times and the BMA has been committed to achieving a negotiated settlement that delivers genuine improvements for patients while being realistic about what practices can deliver.’