Pensions and the Health and Social Care Act dominated the last financial year according to the GPC’s chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, writing in the GPC’s annual report published last month.
He writes: ‘The reforms are the most top-down reorganisation the NHS has ever seen and will introduce new layers of bureaucracy with limited freedom for clinical commissioners, increased competition and a bigger role for private companies.’
Dr Buckman says the GPC’s pension strategy has been targeted at ‘influencing changes to the government’s position and making sure that doctors’ concerns are fairly portrayed in the media’.
The report reads: ‘At the end of February BMA Council decided to ballot members on industrial action short of strike. This carefully considered step has been taken very reluctantly. Though the decision to take industrial action demonstrates the profession’s strength of feeling, our decision not to take strike action reflects our determination not to cause harm to our patients.’
Revalidation, extended GP training and limits of primary medical service issues remain unresolved. The GPC is trying to ensure that any ‘extension of works for the educational benefit of GP trainees’ is properly funded and that GP trainers are ‘remunerated appropriately’. It is also lobbying for a revalidation system that is ‘properly funded, proportionate and equitable for all GPs’.
The contracts and regulation subcommittee section of the report reads: ‘The subcommittee has received a number of anecdotal reports of GP practices being asked to register and treat patients in secondary care institutions, with a resulting blurring of boundaries between the care provided by the GP and the secondary care institution. We plan to issue guidance on this shortly, and have raised this matter with the DH.’
According to the report ‘PMS contracts remain under threat in many parts of the country’ and the GPC is advising PMS practices to negotiate as a single group with support from their LMC.