GPC reacts to 'unacceptable' GMS contract overhaul

Patient services are being put at risk because ministers 'completely failed' to listen to warnings over the impact of GMS contract changes for 2013/14, the BMA has said.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman: contract changes unacceptable
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman: contract changes unacceptable

Changes announced by the DH on Monday will see MPIG axed over seven years and a huge overhaul of QOF targets. It will force practices to deliver a range of new enhanced services to earn back funding cut from QOF.

Practices face a real terms pay cut in 2013/14 after the DH rejected recommendations from the Doctors and Dentists Review Body and imposed a below-inflation 1.32% pay rise.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'GPs are committed to working with patients and the government to deliver the highest quality of care to the public.

'However, ministers have completely failed to take on board the concerns of thousands of GPs about the cumulative impact of these proposals on general practice. Practices will face numerous new targets that will divert valuable clinical time and resources towards box ticking and administrative work.'

He said QOF changes would make it more difficult for practices to maintain services, at a time when many are already struggling to cope under the pressure of rising workload and shrinking resources.

'A BMA survey that drew nearly 8,000 responses demonstrated that the impact of these changes would result in GPs considering reducing patient access and staffing hours,' Dr Buckman added.

'Last year, the BMA and NHS Employers came close to agreeing a tough, but fair package of changes that would have resulted in real improvements for patients. These talks were ended when the government decided to pull the plug and threaten to impose their own proposals. This has been followed by a total failure to listen to grassroots GPs during the recent consultation.

'It is unacceptable that the government has ignored this weight of opinion and ploughed ahead with so many ill thought out proposals that run the risk of destabilising patient care.'

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