Editorial: Activity-based contract worth pursuing

The headlines on our website, GPonline, after the LMCs conference in London last month indicate that delegates voted to scrap a great deal (see pages 3, 10, 12, 13 and 15).

The CQC - subject of a thumbs-down from GP readers (page 25), NHS 111 and out-of-area GP registrations should all be consigned to the dustbin of history, these GP leaders made clear.

A glance through GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul's speech to the two-day event does much to explain why the profession is feeling this way. He urged ministers to ditch seven-day general practice.

He said: 'The triple whammy of morale, workload and workforce pressures I spoke about last year has become endemic. In September, the Health Education England Taskforce review officially declared a 'GP crisis' - its words, not ours - and the Centre for Workforce Intelligence stated that present GP numbers are 'unsustainable to meet current demand'.'

GPs are not well served by the new Conservative government ratcheting up patient expectation with talk of a seven-day NHS, although some GPs will tell you where there is funding, extraordinary achievements are being made in this area.

Given such a background, the temptation to call for the scrapping of all that irks general practice must have been strong.

However, two votes stand out to GP: the refusal to call for the QOF to go and the vote instead to seek a contract with pay for activity at its heart.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has signalled his intention to grant general practice a new deal and it seems likely the QOF is in the line of fire.

But pay for activity, as Kent LMC's Dr Jim Kelly says in a video on GPonline, might incentivise the movement of some much needed funding into general practice.

Coupled with the workload cap, also backed by LMCs, the GPC negotiating team now has a clear view of what the profession would like to see from any new deal and accompanying contract for GPs.

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