Thursday 10 March 2022
Briefing on GP Contract 2022/23
As you will now be aware, despite lengthy negotiation no agreement was reached on changes to the national contract for 2022/23. Negotiations between NHS England and GPC England were part of the five year ‘deal’ agreed in 2019 and on 1 April we will enter year four of that deal. Despite the challenges we have all faced over the past two years there has been no willingness from government, or its agency NHS England, with whom the GPC negotiates, to address any of the severe issues for GPs that have arisen during the pandemic – for them it is as if nothing has happened. A five year deal is a five year deal. And so the contract has been amended and imposed on the profession. You can see our comments and thoughts on the measures contained in the new contract update here:
Download our briefing on the contract
This contract update has been forced on general practice despite the unparalleled success of the Covid vaccination programme; record-breaking appointments being delivered to patients; extraordinary workforce constraints, and workload concerns. Similarly global events and the stress of the current geopolitical threat resulting in migrants and asylum seekers reaching our shores in need of general practice care have not led to any change in approach.
In recent weeks we have seen an increase in GP-bashing in the media. One article in particular in the Sunday Times (not one of the usual suspects) has increased anxiety amongst our colleagues with bold statements about vertical integration and the future of general practice. Whether this is an innocent article, albeit raising the prospect of an existential threat to general practice as we know it (not just the partnership model, but the very philosophy of continuity care, holistic, relational and longitudinal), or kite flying and deliberate dis-information designed to make us feel threatened, there is a pattern developing of public facing messaging framing GPs as indolent, incompetent, or inconvenient.
The same week we saw NHS England unilaterally impose contract changes on general practice, right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange published a new report with a proposal to reform general practice and enable digital healthcare at scale, challenging the independent contractor model. It is unclear whether this represents Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP’s “Independent Review of General Practice”, but Mr Javid wrote a warm foreword. Time will tell whether this is an innocent albeit “wonky” kite, or a vision of things to come. You decide. Both are nasty.
Regardless of what Ministers, think tanks or commentators think, one thing is clear: your elected LMC members are here to represent you and the Londonwide team are on your side. Please continue to let us know your thoughts on what this means for you, your practice, and your profession.
With best wishes
Dr Michelle Drage MBBS FRCGP
CEO, Londonwide LMCs