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GP contract changes will "anger and stun GPs"

GP contract changes will "anger and stun GPs"

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The new GP contract will stop any rewards for “organisational” tasks such as good record-keeping.

Proposed government changes to the GP contract aim to focus on providing better care for people with long-term conditions and preventing unnecessary admissions to hospital.

New measures added include: ensuring quality rewards for GPs reflect expert advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), making sure more patients benefit from best practice areas such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Furthermore, rewards typically given for “organisational” tasks will be given for the quality of services that GPs offer patients instead.

The proposed changes to the GP contract have been sent to the British Medical Association (BMA) for consideration.

“Putting patients first is our priority and I make no apology for this,” said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“The GP contract needs to change so that it further improves care for patients.

“Our proposals will help ensure that we provide the very best care and support possible for those at most risk of life threatening conditions. We want to drive up standards for all and want the contract to reflect the most up-to-date expert guidance and excellent standards of care.

“We want the BMA to work with us on making this happen, but will not back away from making changes that will deliver better care for patients.”

Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the British Medical Association's GP committee, said doctors will be "angered and stunned" at the proposal changes to the GP contract.

“The implications of the government’s new proposals for general practice are likely to be huge, and we will be examining the consequences of this threatened imposition so that we can fully inform the profession and public as soon as possible," he said.

"There are serious question marks over whether some of the intended changes are based on sound clinical evidence or are practical or feasible.

“The government is being disingenuous in its presentation of how we have arrived at this point. GPs will be stunned and angered that the government is disregarding five months of detailed negotiations between the BMA and NHS Employers which was in its final stages just a couple of weeks ago. The government must urgently rethink its approach and return to our negotiated settlement that was so close to being concluded.

“Many practices are already stretched to breaking point, which the government appears to be ignoring.  For all practices, the changes will place an enormous strain on GPs at a time when they are struggling under the weight of a wholesale NHS reorganisation, especially the implementation of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)."

Dr Nicola Smith, chair of Milton Keynes CCG, said she found it “reasonable” to retire indicators that are “nowadays considered to be standard practice” – such as record-keeping.

However, she said it is “important” to recognise the impact on GP workload the changes will bring.

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