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GPC rules out strike over GP contract changes

28 November 2012

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GPs will not strike over the proposed government overhaul of the GP contract, it has been confirmed.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP Committee, said while GPs are “very angry” about the proposals, there is “no great enthusiasm” for “taking it out on their patients”.

Under government proposals, GP rewards typically given for “organisational” tasks will instead be given for the quality of services that GPs offer patients instead.

New measures added include: ensuring quality rewards for GPs reflect expert advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), making sure more patients benefit from best practice areas such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

He predicted there will be reviews carried out by individual practices to find out whether they can sustain the level of work they undertake or whether they will have to make significant changes to either make the workload manageable or cope with funding cuts the new contract is likely to bring.

A recent survey by Management in Practice‘s sister title GP Business shows 81.7% of those GPs polled described their reaction as “angry”” with the proposed changes announced by the government last month with more than three-quarters claiming the changes will result in a pay cut for their practice.

Almost nine out of ten GPs (87%) responding to the survey said they felt the government’s public announcement to change the GP contract “undermined” the trust in GP contract talks and the same number also urged the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP Committee (GPC) not to accept the government’s proposals.

Dr Vautrey said the GPC is waiting on the government’s final position on the GP contract proposals – something he expected will be made clear “anytime now”.

Commenting on the proposed changes, a spokesperson from the Department of Health (DH) said: “The GP contract needs to change so that it further improves care for patients. We want to work with the GPC and hope that they and NHS Employers can resume discussions and a negotiated settlement is agreed.”

The DH declined to comment on the GPC’s decision not to strike.