'No clinical basis' for GP contract changes, GPC warns

The GPC has warned health secretary Jeremy Hunt that GP contract changes the DH plans to impose are 'impractical' and not based on evidence.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman: no clinical case for GP contract proposals
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman: no clinical case for GP contract proposals

In a letter to the health secretary, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said he hoped the 12-week consultation the DH launched on 6 December on its contract proposals was a ‘meaningful exercise’.

DH proposals for the QOF 2013/14 would set thresholds for achieving maximum points at the level of the best-performing 25% of practices. A DH model of the proposed changes shows some clinical areas' upper thresholds would rise to 100%, meaning practices would need to treat or refer every single patient with the condition to earn all QOF points in that area.

‘We remain unconvinced about the clinical basis for a number of the proposed changes, some of which we had voiced as impractical in our earlier negotiations,' Dr Buckman wrote.

The GPC has said that it is no longer in negotiations with the DH but that it will be responding directly to the government during the consultation.

In the letter, Dr Buckman said: ‘I am extremely disappointed about the way in which matters have been handled this year and feel strongly that the government should have stayed at the negotiating table rather than walking away and consulting on proposals to impose contract changes to GP practices.

'The agreement reached in Scotland between the BMA’s Scottish GPC and the Scottish government demonstrates how a cooperative and consultative approach can achieve a positive outcome for patients and the NHS.’

In a 'mythbuster' document published by the DH on the GP contract, the DH has denied responsibility for the breakdown in negotiations, claiming the GPC walked away.

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