GPC lists services practices can drop

GP leaders have issued practices smarting under a 6 per cent real-terms income drop for 2007/8 with a six-point recovery plan.

The plan, intended to balance practices’ books in the face of a pay freeze while protecting patient services and honouring staff pay commitments, stops short of a formal protest.

‘At the moment we don’t believe there is an appetite for industrial action. Some practices may consider they are doing it as a protest and that is up to them,’ said GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum. ‘It is a clear message that practices should be doing what everyone else has done, live within their budgets.’

In its damage-limitation advice ‘Safeguarding Patient Services, Maintaining Cost-Effectiveness’, the GPC last week told practices to stick to the letter of their contracts and reject any new work foisted on them by hospitals without enough money.

‘GPs refusing non-contractual new work should make it clear that it is being refused on the grounds of financial pressure,’ the latest GPC guidance says.

Staff and GP colleagues should be trained to say ‘no’ and any attempts by primary care organisations to go beyond reasonable persuasion into ‘intimidation and bullying’ reported to the GPC.

Practices should review the cost — workload — service balance of all enhanced services and ditch any that are underfunded.

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