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GPs Overwhelmingly Reject Government Plan

Publication date: October 2021

93% of respondents surveyed by the BMA say the government's recently announced Winter Access Fund plan for general practice is an unacceptable response to the current crisis.

Almost 3,500 GPs in England took part in the snap poll after Health Secretary Sajid Javid published details of a package which he claimed was to improve access to GPs. However, doctors made clear it would in fact increase workload and bureaucracy on GPs and their colleagues, reduce the number of appointments available, and impact the quality of patient care, while threatening to name-and-shame and penalise practices that need the most help.

The 93% figure is the clearest articulation yet that frontline GPs working across the country do not believe the plan will go any way to addressing the pressures facing general practice, staff and patients.

The BMA is warning that the impact of such a damaging move from the Government on staffing levels could be disastrous. The latest GP workforce figures show that England has lost around 1,800 full-time equivalent, fully-qualified GPs since 2015, despite the Government promising 6,000 more. 

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee England chair, said:

“This shows the profession has out and out rejected this shambles of a plan from the Government and NHS England. If the Health Secretary thinks it is enough to provide a lifeline to surgeries this winter, let alone save general practice in the long term, this response shows how wrong he is. The BMA provided the Health Secretary with a clear plan to help address the crisis in the short term, that could improve patient access and guarantee safe, high quality care, while also putting forward longer term solutions. He chose to ignore that and instead we have a shambolic plan that has failed before it has begun. These survey results show how angry and despondent GPs are. The profession clearly sees the Government’s name and shame approach as a bully’s charter, which will intensify existing problems."

The BMA’s England GP committee will meet later this week to discuss the package and what steps they, and the Association, wish to take next. Humberside LMCs will be taking part in these discussions and will report back on next steps. You can read the LMC's own response to the governement announcement, including a detailed analysis of the plans, here.  

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