GPC rejects claim it 'abandoned UK-wide GMS' contract

The GPC has angrily denied abandoning a UK-wide approach to 2013/14 GMS contract negotiations.

Dr Laurence Buckman: GPC remains committed to UK-wide GP contract
Dr Laurence Buckman: GPC remains committed to UK-wide GP contract

Last week GPC Wales agreed a deal with the Welsh government for a new GMS contract that, along with the deal agreed by GPC Scotland in December, preserved MPIG top-ups to core pay for practices. The Welsh and Scottish agreements also significantly reduce the impact of changes to QOF.

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said the separate deals showed that the GPC 'has clearly now abandoned a UK approach to negotiating changes to the GP contract'.

‘Whilst Scotland and Wales have settled, England intends to continue consulting on a package of proposals that seek to deliver a significant improvement in services for patients,’ he said.

But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman denied that the GPC had given up on a UK-wide deal and called for the UK government to re-enter negotiations.

‘The BMA has always wanted a properly thought out, UK-wide agreement that met the challenges faced by modern general practice,' Dr Buckman said.

‘The BMA took part in five months of negotiations with NHS Employers that in October 2012 were close to agreeing a set of UK proposals that would have benefited patients.

'The government then decided to end these talks and instead announced its intention to press ahead with a number of wide ranging changes to the GP contract, many of which are unnecessary or unworkable. It is disingenuous to suggest that the BMA walked away from talks.

‘Fortunately, the Scottish and Welsh governments decided to take a constructive approach and through proper talks have reached agreements with the BMA in those nations.

‘The government is however still attempting to force a draconian imposition onto English GPs. We have already told the DH that we are willing to have further meaningful dialogue about the situation facing English GPs, but we have not heard anything yet that gives us confidence that this offer will be taken up.’

The DH also denies walking away from contract negotiations. In a recent statement, a spokeswoman said: 'We have never walked away from negotiations with the BMA and would be happy to resume discussions so an agreed settlement can be reached. The GPC continues to refuse to meet with the DH's negotiators and has cancelled meetings.'

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