Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) and GP Survival have reacted angrily to the changes to the GP contract imposed without warning or consultation by NHSE, which includes stipulations that GP services are to be offered 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays as well as expanded during weekday evenings.
In a joint statement, they said:
“We are furious that NHS England have chosen to ignore the collective plight of frontline GP teams. The unilateral termination of negotiations by NHSE demonstrates a complete lack of respect for GP teams who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic whilst also contributing to the largest vaccination programme in the history of our nation.
“The deal being imposed upon GP contractors needs to be legally tested as it represents a fundamental change to GP contract terms and conditions with no clear defining reason for it.
“We seek to understand the evidence underpinning the mandate that providing routine appointments in the evenings and weekends will improve patient outcomes. There is evidence that continuity of care helps to reduces hospital admissions and improves patient satisfaction. Spreading a thin workforce even further will adversely affect patient safety.
“We are surprised NHSE felt they had no other option than to impose an authoritarian style of leadership. This approach should not be the future of health care decisions. There must be a collaborative approach between patients, staff, commissioners, NHSE and the Government. Only when this approach is adapted will we see the best outcomes for our patients.
“As frontline GPs we seek a contract which enables us to provide the high-quality care our patients deserve. GPs are not obstacles to overcome to achieve further aims, but highly trained professionals with an intimate knowledge and understanding of the communities they serve.
“No amount of spin will placate our dedicated and experienced workers who continue in their attempts to support a failing NHS during extraordinary times. NHS England have failed GP teams, failed the patients they serve, and most significantly have failed the National Health Service.
“We wholeheartedly reject NHS England’s current proposals and we demand they resume negotiations without further delay.”