BMA chairman calls for re-think on GMS contract

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has called for a re-think on the GMS contract, warning it had encouraged GPs to take on too many patients.

Giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Primary Care and Public Health, Dr Meldrum said income should be linked to the number of GPs rather than just workload.

'We've moved to a practice-based contract and that can have the effect of reducing the number of doctors in primary care,' said Dr Meldrum, an architect of the 2004 contract.

'I should have a list of around 1,000 patients, so I can devote proper time to each one. Instead it is more like 2,000.'

MPs invited Dr Meldrum and other key NHS figures to discuss the impact of the NHS Plan.

Dr Meldrum said: 'I think there have been some huge steps forward in recruitment.'

But he echoed GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman's calls to re-establish some functions of the now-defunct Medical Practices Committee (MPC) to address the lack of partnerships.

'The MPC wasn't perfect, but it was better than leaving distribution to market forces. We have increased capacity in secondary care, but in primary care more needs to be done to get the right spread,' Dr Meldrum said.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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