Summing up LMC conferences in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in March ahead of the UK LMCs conference in Liverpool next month, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that all three nations had expressed dissatisfaction with the GMS contract.
Dr Buckman said: ‘There was a concern and a sadness that the new GP contract that came in with such a great flourish in 2004 actually can’t deliver some of the things that now governments want delivered in the health service.’
However Dr Buckman said that such concerns were not due to the contract itself but the way it had been used to dump work into primary care.
Dr Buckman said that the GMS contract had been modified a number of times since its inception, and it still had scope to change further.
NHS Alliance PMS/GMS lead Dr David Jenner agreed. He said: ‘We know there are going to be some changes in the contract for the next year which will require practices to be part of a clinical commissioning group (CCG).’
Dr Jenner said the recently released transitional risk register revealed there was a high risk of the government not being able ‘to negotiate the necessary changes to the GP contract to incentivise and lock practices into consortia’.
In order to negate this risk Dr Jenner envisaged three possible changes. The first would be the expansion of the quality and productivity (QP) indicators, which would ‘tie practices into the CCG’s agenda’.
The second would be to increase commissioning-related enhanced services by creating new national or local enhances services. The third option would be to introduce the quality premium, ‘although this is less likely, as the BMA is very opposed to it,’ Dr Jenner said.
Dr Buckman said it would be the task of the UK LMCs conference to decide future changes they would like to the contract.
‘Where we go now will really depend on where the UK conference takes it and that’s in a few weeks' time,’ he said.
Dr Jenner said that UK LMC motions were likely to try to address the increasing workload demands placed on GPs under the contract.
‘I expect you’ll see calls asking for the money to follow the patient,’ he said.