BMA to launch public awareness campaign on practice workload

The BMA is launching a public awareness campaign in England to champion general practice and warn patients that GP contract reforms will drive up waiting times for appointments.

Dr Laurence Buckman: warning over impact of contract changes
Dr Laurence Buckman: warning over impact of contract changes

The GPC has said that the campaign, due to begin this summer, will include open letters to patients in the form of posters to be put up in practice waiting rooms.

The BMA website will also host resources to inform patients about the NHS reforms in England and to explain that they can still choose an NHS provider for their treatment.

Patients will also be able to take part in polls and share their experiences on the site to help the GPC ‘build up a picture of what is happening on the ground’.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the contract changes in England will affect patient access. ‘This will result in increased appointments, reduced access, more box ticking and it is only right that our patients understand the origins of these adverse effects,’ he said.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘This will aim to raise awareness of the challenges faced by general practice and reassure patients that while GPs will provide the best possible care, some of the recent changes may make that harder.

‘We are going to signpost patients to more information to help explain the changes, their potential impact and what we are doing and how they can make sure they have their say on their care and their services.

‘We are also developing more detailed information to address concerns that patients may have about the doctor-patient relationship given recent publicity about conflicts of interest and to explain patients’ rights in choosing their provider and to help shape local health services.

‘We will be looking to build on these three things and other things over the summer to help develop a bigger campaign for later in the year to make a case for general practice and to engage and enable more GPs to proactively shape its future.’

The GPC said that it expects to have the wording on the posters finalised before the UK LMCs conference on 23-24 May, in London. The UK GPC said that LMCs in the Celtic countries could adapt the campaign and roll it out for their practices.

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