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27-06-2011 | General practice | Article

GPs ‘facing uncertainty’


BMA Annual Representative Meeting 2011

GPs are facing threats and uncertainty under the ongoing NHS reforms in England, BMA Chair Dr Hamish Meldrum has warned.

Speaking at the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting, Dr Meldrum said that not only are GPs coming under a "drip feed" of media attacks, they are also facing threats to their contracts and the damaging effects of the government's plan to abolish practice boundaries.

"It's a sad litany of threat, uncertainty and criticism that gnaws away at the professionalism and dedication of those we represent," Dr Meldrum said.

He assured members that the BMA GPs Committee has proposed a "long list of ways to improve patient choice without shattering the foundation stone of UK general practice, the registered GP list".

While acknowledging that the government had significantly altered the Health and Social Care Bill to remove some of its more damaging aspects, he emphasised that "there is still a lot to play for, still much detail to be devilled out, still much else we want to change".

And Dr Meldrum warned that financial pressures on the NHS and its pension scheme will continue to be major issues concerning the profession in the months ahead.

"The government has made some positive moves on NHS reform with the listening exercise - but that's not enough, we need to build on that, not throw it away with short-term cost-cutting of frontline care, poorly planned major service changes or a phoney war about the unsustainability of an NHS pension scheme that is £10 billion in surplus," he said.

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price