Letters Calls And Emails: Take on the government now or lie down forever

Dear Editor

Like many GPs, I feel angry and uncertain of the way ahead. After years of having extra work dumped on us by the government, the new contract set out to define our responsibilities and set standards of care in key areas. At last the goal posts were to be fixed. Excellent.

We rose to the challenge with a great deal of hard work and, as a result, patients throughout the UK were treated to the same high standard. It was an immense achievement. Our patients all knew how efficient we were.

Yet now we find ourselves criticised by the government and the press for having earned too much. Should we have worked less hard and benefited patients less? The GPC's Dr Simon Fradd predicted the finances very well in GP, which is avidly read by NHS negotiators, keen to know what the other side is thinking. They knew but chose to do nothing and shook hands and signed off the GMS contract.

Now, after several years of letting us work our cotton socks off, they cry foul and cap pensions; Patricia Hewitt says they should have capped salaries too and, with a pay freeze, will in effect do so. We are all in the same boat now. Have no illusions.

Seeking a judicial review on pension capping may or may not have a favourable outcome but, even if it does, the government is under no compulsion to comply. It will only make test cases after that more likely to succeed. This is all going to take a long time - is it the GPC's only strategy?

We need to stand up to the government very soon, or it will know that it can always get the better of us, whether we have a contract or not.

I call upon the GPC to organise a united and structured revolt against the government.

A contract is a contract.

Dr David Johnson

Brecon, Powys

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