GPs 'angry and demoralised' over contract changes, GPC warns

The GPC has said it is too early to talk about industrial action over proposed GP contract changes, but warned ministers that the plans have left the profession angry and its morale at an all-time low.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: talk of industrial action is premature
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: talk of industrial action is premature

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the government faces losing the goodwill of the profession if it carries out proposed GP contract changes which could slash £31,000 a year from QOF pay and create huge swings in core income.

Dr Nagpaul refused to disclose if the GPC has turned down invitations for meetings with the DH since the proposals were published in October.

But after attending an LMC secretaries meeting on Friday, he said: ‘We have made it clear that we are not prepared to negotiate with a gun held to our heads. The government really needs to open its eyes and ears and realise that morale is at an unprecedented low.

‘There is a real risk that if the changes go through the government risks losing the goodwill of the profession, as they are so fatigued and angry.’

Dr Nagpaul said that the GPC is still waiting for the DH to release further details of its proposals, before it discusses its next steps.

On the possibility of industrial action, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We really have to wait. It is premature to talk about industrial action. We have to wait to see what is proposed.’

Mid Mersey LMC medical secretary Dr Ivan Camphor, who attended the LMC secretaries meeting, said some LMCs were calling for forms of industrial action, including withdrawal from GP commissioning and non-compliance with the CQC.

He said: ‘The mood was pretty low. For GPs on the ground there is low morale as there is an impending pay cut next year. The whole thing seems quite demoralising. There doesn’t seem to be a plan B, from the DH or the GPC.

‘Non compliance with CQC was not talked about officially but it was discussed in the lobbies.’

Dr Nagpaul said the GPC had not discussed industrial action and warned: ‘We have to be clear that CQC registration is a statutory requirement for practices to comply with. We can’t change the law.’

On calls for withdrawal from GP commissioning, he said: ‘The legal advice is that if the GPC was to advise against government policy then it would be considered industrial action and it is not advocating industrial action at the minute.’

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