GPC calls for a boycott of access DES

The GPC is telling practices in England to consider dropping the directed enhanced service (DES) for access, worth £12,000 to an average practice, after a dispute with the DoH.

Waiting room
Waiting room

Practices taking part are already likely to have received an average aspiration payment of £4,000. GP leaders warned this could be clawed back if practices pulled out.

Lawyers warned that practices could also be liable to pay damages if they withdrew. Many practices have amended their contracts to include the DES. The dispute relates to the patient survey that will determine how much achievement pay practices receive for access. GP leaders fear responses will be negatively affected after the DoH insisted on adding questions on practice opening hours, which are not part of the DES.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said that the original list of questions related directly to the DES standards, including ease of telephone access, booking advance appointments and access to a GP within 48 hours. But the DoH has insisted on a question asking whether patients are dissatisfied that their surgery does not open at weekends, or in the evening or early morning.

‘We felt this was a departure from what we had agreed, and practices should seriously consider whether they continue to participate,’ Dr Meldrum said. The GPC did not oppose asking patients about opening hours, he added, but the survey was not the place to do it.

GPC member Dr Trefor Roscoe said his practice would lose £20,000 for dropping the DES, but backed the advice to withdraw: ‘I think it’s about time the profession said “no”.’
But it may be tough for some practices to pull out. Cleveland LMC secretary Dr John Canning said his practice had altered its contract three weeks ago to include the DES.

‘Quite a few practices will have committed themselves to the DES in their contracts. I would be surprised if lots pull out,’ he said. Lynne Abbess, a partner at solicitors Hempsons, said contracts could only be altered with the PCT’s agreement:

‘If you pull out anyway, you could be liable for a claim of damages.’

A DoH spokesman called the decision to reject the DES ‘disappointing’.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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

NHS operating procedure for primary care to remain until UK lifts all COVID-19 restrictions

NHS operating procedure for primary care to remain until UK lifts all COVID-19 restrictions

The NHS standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care will remain in place...

All adults in England to book COVID jab 'this week' as UK hits 30m second doses

All adults in England to book COVID jab 'this week' as UK hits 30m second doses

All adults should be able to book their first COVID-19 jab by the ‘end of this week’...

NHS faces workforce 'pinch point' as COVID-19 drives wave of retirements, warns GMC

NHS faces workforce 'pinch point' as COVID-19 drives wave of retirements, warns GMC

Numbers of doctors working in the NHS will soon reach a ‘pinch point’ unless immediate...

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...

NHS England pledges £30m for GPs to boost long COVID diagnosis and care

NHS England pledges £30m for GPs to boost long COVID diagnosis and care

NHS England has promised £30m for general practice to improve diagnosis and care...

Second dose COVID jabs for over-40s to be accelerated as lifting restrictions is delayed

Second dose COVID jabs for over-40s to be accelerated as lifting restrictions is delayed

Second doses of COVID-19 vaccines in England will be 'accelerated' for all over-40s...