It is going to be a big year for the BMA GP Committee chair Dr Vautrey. He is in charge of negotiating what NHS England says is the ‘biggest contract reform since 2004’.
There are a number of issues up for discussion: the future of the QOF, changes to the global sum, the new state-backed indemnity scheme due by next April, and the crucial partnership and premises reviews. These affect every GP in England, and the results of the negotiations will determine the future of general practice for years to come.
GPs would be hard pressed to find anyone with a greater knowledge of the profession to lead negotiations. From what NHS England has said, this might finally be the year that it changes the global sum. Dr Vautrey is in a strong position to argue for positive change, being arguably be the only person in the country who can fully explain the complexity of the funding model.
The unassuming leeds GP, who is also a Methodist preacher, doesn’t have the same bluster as some of his predecessors, but he does get things done. He cites the contract agreement this year as his greatest achievement over the past 12 months, saying it ‘delivered the biggest investment in to practices for many years’.
He has a task on his hands this year to persuade the Government to use the additional £20bn a year for the NHS on increasing the global sum – something previous ministers have been reluctant to do.
Dr Vautrey also has a new secretary of state to contend with. Just as it seemed there was a thawing of the relationship between the GPC and Jeremy Hunt, Mr Hunt was shifted to the foreign office. We still don’t know his successor’s attitude towards general practice – other than a vocal commitment to increasing the use of technology.
Please note: this was changed at 12pm on 3 September to reflect that Dr Vautrey is a Methodist preacher, and not a minister as previously stated
Why influential: Charged with negotiating ‘biggest contract reform since 2004’
Surprising fact: ‘I still enjoy being a GP!’