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NHSE criticised for ‘ignoring’ practice managers over rescue package

by Jess Hacker
25 October 2021

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NHS England has been told to ‘engage’ with practice managers rather than dictating and ignoring them, as backlash against its GP rescue plan continues.

Last week (14 October), NHSE set out its £250m-backed GP access plan which outlined several targets for practices, including instructions to reach pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face appointments offered by November. Practices that do not meet the target will lose access to the winter fund.

However, the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) has questioned why NHSE did not consult managers in general practice when drafting the plan.

‘NHS England needs to engage with us rather than dictate and ignore,’ the Institute said on Twitter.

‘If they had asked for input into their “rescue package” we could have come up with something that helps address the problems we’re facing.’

The IGPM highlighted that general practice delivered 75% of Covid vaccines during the initial phases of the campaign, adding that practice managers were ‘at the heart’ of this.

It added that as a result of its lack of engagement, NHSE’s suggestions have been ‘met with anger and serious questions’.

The plan has been described as ‘flawed’ by the BMA and had previously been described by the IGPM as ‘arbitrary’.

Measures such as the plan to take ‘immediate’ action will be taken against the 20% of practices with the lowest face-to-face appointment levels, are set to ‘penalise’ those practices in need or support, they said.

Meanwhile, the BMA’s GP Committee last week advised practices ‘not to engage’ with the plan.

In an email sent to practices today and seen by Management in Practice‘s sister title Pulse, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said that ‘at this time, we would advise GPs and practices not to engage in this punitive and damaging plan’.

The BMA ‘will issue a further update and guidance for GPs and practices following that’, Dr Vautrey said.

It comes as the BMA has revealed that more than half of GPs would consider leaving the NHS if the Government does not provide them with the support they need, according to a survey conducted before the NHS England package was announced.