Angry BMA rejects 1.5% GP pay deal

Ministers have threatened to impose a GMS pay uplift understood to be worth 1.5% in return for significant extra workload, in a move that has wrecked 'five months of detailed negotiations', GP leaders say.

DH has unveiled package offered to BMA
DH has unveiled package offered to BMA

BMA leaders have rejected the proposals, which GP understands would see thresholds on QOF clinical targets rise and indicators in the organisational domain scrapped to fund new targets.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman accused the government of ignoring the fact that many practices were already 'stretched to breaking point'.

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He said: '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. The government is being disingenuous in its presentation of how we have arrived at this point. 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 DH wants GPs to face new QOF targets for long-term conditions and preventing emergency admissions. QOF targets should better reflect NICE guidance, it said.

The department also wants to ensure 'that more patients benefit from best practice in areas such as keeping BP low and reducing cholesterol levels, especially those in most need or hardest to reach'. Commenting on the proposal, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the GP contract 'needs to change' to improve patient care. 'Our population is living longer and an increasing number of people have long term conditions. By 2018 those with one or more long term condition is set to rise to 2.9 million.

'Our proposals will help ensure that we provide the very best care and support possible for those at most risk of life threatening conditions. We want to drive up standards for all and want the contract to reflect the most up-to-date expert guidance and excellent standards of care.'

He added: 'We want the BMA to work with us on making this happen, but will not back away from making changes that will deliver better care for patients.'

NHS Alliance GMS/PMS lead Dr David Jenner said the plans could lead to a 'mass of new work' for already stretched practices.

He said: ‘I think general practices are struggling to cope with quite a rising tide of extra work anyway, NICE guidelines and the move of work from hospital to the community and in some areas the impact of an ageing population.

‘So even to stand still a rise in income or at least expenses would be required. It sounds like the BMA consider that the amount of extra work involved for the 1.5% available would be unacceptable to members.'

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