Buckman backs GPs over out-of-hours

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman has responded to a wave of media criticism in the wake of the recent review of out-of-hours GP services.

Dr Buckman: wrote to LMCs over reports balming GPs for out-of-hours failings
Dr Buckman: wrote to LMCs over reports balming GPs for out-of-hours failings

In a letter to LMCs, Dr Buckman says the GPC is 'not about to renegotiate the GMS contract for anyone' and will not negotiate a return to responsibility for delivering out-of-hours care.

Comment pieces in papers such as the Daily Mail and The Times linked current concerns about out-of-hours care to the fact GPs gave up out-of-hours responsibility in 2004.

The Conservatives have also attacked the handling of the 2004 contract and pledged to hand commissioning responsibility for all local services, including out-of-hours, back to GPs should they be elected this summer.

Dr Buckman writes that 'it is sad that so many politicians believe the GPC is to blame for the current quality of out-of-hours services. It is disturbing that press commentators think the same'.

The Times called 2004's GMS negotiations 'an evident failure' while the Daily Mail once again claimed GPs were 'paid more for doing less'.

Swansea GP Dr Shimnaz Nazeer, a member of GP's GP35 panel of GPs aged under 35, said: 'I totally share Dr Buckman's sentiment.'

But some grassroots GPs think his comments may have come too late, and called for the BMA to generate a higher-profile response to the claims.

Dr Gaurav Gupta, a GP35 panel member and a partner in Faversham, Kent, said: 'Greater media presence and sensible GPs answering these allegations calmly is the way forward.'

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