GPs too overworked to collaborate, BMA warns

Almost 70% of GPs say workload pressures are a barrier to establishing practice networks or federations that could benefit patient care, a BMA survey has found.

BMA: poll found practices too overworked to collaborate
BMA: poll found practices too overworked to collaborate

The doctors’ union said GPs do not have the time, support or information to explore new ways of collaborative working to provide more efficient care.

The survey asked 1,555 GPs their views on collaboration, federations and networks. It found:

  • Seven out of 10 (69%) cited workload pressures as a barrier to establishing a network or federation.
  • 66% cited a lack of time.
  • 45% were not clear or convinced about the benefits of forming a federation or network.
  • 35% are considering joining a network or federation.
  • 22% are already part of a network or federation.
  • 66% would find further guidance helpful.
  • 63% said they wish to develop a network in order to bid for enhanced primary care services.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘As highlighted in the BMA’s "Your GP Cares" campaign, general practice is under massive strain from a combination of an unsustainable rising workload and fewer resources.

'In this environment, we need to look at new ways of working that might enable practices to get the most out of limited resources and work more effectively together.’

Viewpoint: GPs need more support says Dr Richard Vautrey

‘It is deeply disappointing that the very problems that are spurring the need for more collaborative working are preventing GP practices from putting in place proper solutions.’

GPC commissioning and service development lead Dr Beth McCarron-Nash added: ‘GPs are calling for much more support and information so they are enabled to make an informed decision about whether forming a federation or network is best for them.’

‘The BMA has already produced guidance for GPs with advice on how to take this process forward. As a result of the views expressed in this survey, we will be developing further resources to support GPs in the near future. But we do need the Government to listen to the BMA’s "Your GP Cares" campaign and start supporting general practice properly so that practices are able to innovate and provide services in the best possible way for their patients.’

The BMA poll findings come after research found that local practice networks boost QOF scores and improve patient care.

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