BMA chair hails GP contract out-of-hours compromise

The BMA has welcomed the fact that GPs will not take back 24-hour responsibility for patients as part of the 2014/15 GP contract deal, and called for investment in GP-led out-of-hours care.

Dr Mark Porter: GP contract out-of-hours compromise welcome
Dr Mark Porter: GP contract out-of-hours compromise welcome

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said there was a lesson to be drawn from the fact that the government was ‘extraordinarily happy’ with a GP contract deal on out-of-hours that was not as bad for GPs as many had feared.

He said: ‘One of the things they are happy about, we haven't actually talked about in that contract - about reforming all the out-of-hours stuff the government has been talking about to the press for the last three or four months.’

In briefings earlier this year, DH officials suggested GPs could be forced to take back control of out-of-hours services. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said in speeches that doctors would be responsible for signing off to say they are satisfied with the service commissioned for their patients.

The final contract agreement requires GPs to monitor out-of-hours services in their area and report any concerns.

Dr Porter said the contract agreement ‘tells me something about the government’s political priorities on the one hand in terms of blaming doctors for the current mess, and on the other in terms of actually moving forwards.’

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event on seven-day services and urgent care, Dr Porter said in improving GP out-of-hours care, ‘you wouldn’t start from here’.

There had been a systematic disinvestment in services, he said, which was why many GP were happy to give up personal responsibility after 2004. The introduction of NHS 111 led by non-clinical call handlers felt like a ‘further attempt to extract investment from the service’.

‘If we want good general practice out of hours, commissioners need to be commissioning good general practice out of hours.’

Good examples of services often involved GP co-ops, he said, which should be encouraged and resourced by commissioners ‘to get general practice working; rather than saying, how can we save money’.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Under 40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Under 40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Patients aged 30-39 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19...

GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

The number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs per patient in England...

Supportive model must replace harmful CQC inspections, BMA chair warns

Supportive model must replace harmful CQC inspections, BMA chair warns

CQC inspections that ‘divert time away from patient care’ and ‘instil fear’ among...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

Rocketing workloads created by huge backlogs of cases and continuing COVID-19 disruption...

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

The GP workforce grew by 0.4% in the year to March 2021, but the number of GP partners...