Your letters, calls and emails: Abstention is the way to head off extended hours

If we accept the government's proposal on extended hours, the government will spin that GPs agree with them which will leave us wide open to similar tactics in the future.

If we reject the proposal, the government will spin that GPs are not in touch with patient needs and impose draconian changes, leaving the door open for APMS providers to have additional funds in an increasingly unfair playing field.

The third way is to abstain. A negotiated settlement has not been reached, so why are the profession's opinions being sought? The proposal that we are supposed to be voting on will be unilaterally imposed anyway.

No GP is happy that the contract can be unilaterally changed in this way. Why give validity to the whole process by voting either 'yes' or 'no'?

We should unanimously abstain from giving our support or our rejection. As we have not supported the proposal, we will still be able to oppose any unilateral changes should the government impose them and the government couldn't spin that as a profession we agree with them.

As we have not rejected the proposal, the government will have no mandate to impose more draconian changes which could be financially punitive to practices and allow private providers a bigger platform to expand into general practice.

We should continue to lobby for the support of our patients locally and the GPC should use that as evidence to attempt to re-open negotiations.

While the government continues to insist that we accept its unilateral decision lest even worse should follow, we must abstain, and the opportunity to do so needs to be available in the poll of GPs taking place later this month.

If the government wishes to impose unilateral changes on us, do not give it the satisfaction of having our support or the mandate to penalise us further. Abstain.

Dr Jonathan Pywell, Coventry.

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