General practice is “turning a corner” as funding and contractual changes aim to make workloads manageable, a senior GP claims today.
GPs from across the UK are due to meet in Belfast today for the annual conference of local medical committees.
They will hear there is “light ahead” for practices in the keynote address from Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee.
However doctors are set to challenge a key part of the new English contract – the development of primary care networks. Leicestershire GPs say they will “undermine” the autonomy of GPs – whilst doctors in Northumberland warn that they must not “compromise” diversity of provision.
Avon local medical committee, meanwhile, accuses Dr Vautrey’s committee of “colluding” with the government while Hertfordshire local medical committee says the NHS long-term plan will “marks the extinction of the local GP.”
GPs also raise concerns about red-tape, highlighting the cost of new data regulations and of appraisal.
Dr Vautrey will tell the delegates: “You wanted an end to annual contract tweaks and changes, you wanted a reduction in workload and an increase in workforce, you wanted to us to enable practices to respond to the growing digital challenges, and above all you wanted us to bring an end to over a decade of austerity, that has been so damaging for general practice and seen investment as a share of NHS spending fall at the same time the pressures on all us grow.
“I’m here to tell you now that we’ve listened, we’ve acted and we have delivered. With major contract changes in Scotland, England and increasingly elsewhere in the UK, we have not flinched from the big challenges you set us but we have set about convincing governments across the UK of the urgent need to invest in general practice and community-based services, and to not just talk about it but to do it.”
He will add that there is still “much that needs and must be done.”