Meldrum slams quality premium for GPs

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has rejected plans to reward successful GP consortia with 'quality premium' payments.

Dr Meldrum: Patients may fear GPs' decisions are finanically motivated (Photograph: JH Lancy)
Dr Meldrum: Patients may fear GPs' decisions are finanically motivated (Photograph: JH Lancy)

Giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Bill Committee last week, Dr Meldrum also said a recent BMA survey of GPs suggested there was not 'vast enthusiasm' for the reforms as health secretary Andrew Lansley has claimed.

He said the as yet unpublished survey of around 20,000 GPs had found evidence of support was 'mixed'.

'There are some enthusiasts, some total rejectionists,' Dr Meldrum said. 'And a very large group, probably about 70 per cent, who have been through reorganisations and are pretty sceptical, but realise it's best to get in there and do what you can and not get left behind.'

Pathfinder GP consortia now cover more than half of the population of England. But Dr Meldrum said the health secretary was wrong to claim that GPs were enthusiastic 'just because people have put themselves forward'.

Pressed on the quality premium, Dr Meldrum said there was a 'genuine and legitimate fear' patients would accuse GPs of making decisions for 'financial rather than clinical reasons'.

'The BMA has made it clear that there should not be any financial benefit for GPs that is dependent on the commissioning performance of GPs.

'The idea of giving bonuses to GPs if they do well is a complete anathema and will only increase those tensions.'

Dr Meldrum said similar accusations had been made when GPs received payments for vaccinations targets at the height of the MMR crisis.

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