Now the GPs could strike! Doctors ‘overwhelmingly’ reject new NHS contract that threatens to bankrupt practices in the next six months

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

GP surgeries could be forced to close within as little as six months as a new NHS contract will leave many financially unviable, doctors have warned.

The British Medical Association raised the alarm as it revealed members have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to reject Government changes to their terms of service.

The outcome takes family doctors a step closer to industrial action later this year, which could disrupt patient care.

However, a Government source said there will be no further negotiations and the 2024/25 contract will be imposed from April 1 despite the result.

More than 19,000 GPs and GP registrars took part in the union’s referendum, with 99.2 per cent voting ‘no’ when asked if they would accept the deal.

The British Medical Association raised the alarm as it revealed members have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to reject Government changes to their terms of service 

The vote was not a formal trade union ballot but billed as a ‘temperature check’ of the profession, which will inform future steps.

The BMA said family doctors feel ‘frustrated, angry and upset’ and claimed the contract will see practices given a ‘well below-inflation 1.9 per cent baseline practice contract funding uplift’.

This means ‘many practices will struggle to stay financially viable over the next six to 12 months and risk closure’, it added.

The Mail reported earlier this year that the BMA had set out an approximate timeline for potential industrial action by GPs this winter, which could coincide with the general election campaign.

There will need to be a formal ballot for industrial action before a strike or action short of a strike can take place.

Collective action could include closing practice list to new patients or working to rule.

A government source said: ‘We have imposed the contract so that’s not really subject of further debate.

‘The new contract cuts red tape – and there may well be further pay uplifts as a result of the independent review process on remuneration.’

Around 2,400 more GPs have joined the union since the beginning of February, meaning 70 per cent of qualified GPs are now members.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee for England, said: ’Today’s overwhelming result signals the start of our fight back, and we will bring our patients with us.

‘GP teams across England have almost 1.4 million patient contacts a day. 

‘That’s a lot of conversations, and we all want the same thing: access to continuity of care with their family doctor in a local GP surgery that has the right balance of GPs, nurses, and other staff, and is well-resourced to meet their needs today, tomorrow and in the months and years ahead. 

‘It’s what patients want, and it’s what GPs want too.’

She added: ‘GPC England meets today, to consider the profession’s next steps, in a move emboldened by 2,400 newly registered BMA GP members.’

The ballot result came as NHS England issued new guidelines saying physician associates (PAs) are ‘not substitutes’ for GPs and must be supervised.

A new letter to all GP surgeries, primary care network clinical directors, integrated care board chief executives and NHS England regional directors said PAs are ‘specifically trained to work collaboratively with doctors and others’ and all work undertaken by PAs ‘must be supervised and debriefed with their supervising GP’.

Concerns have been raised about the role of PAs following a patient death and other mistakes in care.

The NHS England letter also reminds staff that ‘PAs are not able to prescribe’ and every practice should have a comprehensive policy on access and restrictions to electronic patient records.

Under a section titled ‘role clarity’, the letter said there is a need to ensure patients understand who is caring for them.

‘All clinical and administrative/clerical staff (for example, receptionists) must be educated on the PA role and make it clear to patients that they are seeing a PA,’ it added.

PAs are graduates – usually with a health or life sciences degree – who have undertaken two years of postgraduate training, rather than a full medical school degree, which can take five years.

Emily Chesterton, 30, died in November 2022 from a pulmonary embolism after being misdiagnosed by a PA on two occasions when she visited her local GP practice in Crouch End, north London.

She had been under the impression that she was seeing a GP when she had been seeing a PA after being triaged by a practice receptionist.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We hugely value the work of GPs and their teams and it is disappointing the BMA have voted against the contract.

‘There are now 800 more doctors working in general practice compared to last February, and last year the NHS delivered 50 million more GP appointments than five years ago.’

SOURCE

Leave a Comment

EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnTEnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT EnT