Before truth i forever lost in the mists of time and history is rewritten by government ‘spin’ and medico-political confusion, the realities of the new GMS contract should be set down, if only to set the record straight for those who inherit the shambles that is NHS primary care.
The new contract was blue-printed, engineered and secured by the government for the government.
The GPC and BMA were simply utilised in that plan as unwitting collaborators.
The new contract was never, I repeat never, for our benefit.
The government’s conversion of the profession to the new contract realised its objective with admirable skill.
That objective was the final and complete removal of the independence we enjoyed under the Red Book contract. These were attributes we could no longer be allowed if we were to be brought to heel under full government control.
All of the supposed benefits of conversion, including the out-of-hours opt-out, could have been negotiated and realised under the old contract, but that would not have allowed the government to secure its agenda.
Aided and abetted by our negotiators, we devoured the financial carrots of the new contract and disregarded or misunderstood the small print.
In relation to unilateral retrospective pension capping, we are now becoming convinced that the small print was either never there in the first place or, if present,was legally unsound.
In the medical profession we are of the highest intelligence, but we remain profoundly challenged in political wisdom and totally untrained in jungle warfare.
Our Achilles’ heel has been and will remain our eternal disunity, crafted by the government’s divide-and-rule tacticians who work in the certain knowledge that we will always welcome in their Trojan horses — fundholding, PMS/GMS, practice-based commissioning and so forth.
Acts of moving the goalposts by the government are not the illegal breaches of contract they might at first appear; they are the very essence of the contract we signed. Anyone still in doubt after ‘pension capping’ should be fully convinced in the near future as we proceed through ‘pay freeze’ to ‘pay capping’.
We senior members of the profession are ending our careers as victims of injustice arising from the new contract — the unilateral retrospective non-negotiated imposition of pension capping in December.
We made crucial and irreversible decisions governing dates of retirement and retirement income which were entirely based on the GPC/ BMA’s guidance on and our understanding of the terms of a signed legal contract.
We have lived and worked at the mercy of the profession’s enduring commitments to disunion, corporate masochism and reliance on amateur negotiators.
On the pensions issue we may not achieve justice but, all parties must be assured, our search to reach the truth of this insult will be unrelenting.
Dr Jim Beatson