The BMA’s General Practitioners’ Committee has rejected the Government’s opening bid for the GP contract, Pulse reports.
The proposal came as a shock to the profession at a time of salaried GP redundancies and ringfenced workforce funding. At 1.9%, the proposed uplift was less than half the rate of inflation, which stood at 4.2% in December 2023 according to the Office for National Statistics. Consultants recently rejected a pay offer of 4.95%.
A statement by the BMA called this year’s contract offer ‘derisory’.
Next month GP members of the BMA in England will vote on the contract offer in a groundbreaking new referendum. Chair of the BMA General Practitioners Committee Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer told Pulse that she anticipated that the process for a referendum would begin on Monday 4 February following a GPC meeting on Thursday 1 February.
In a video released just after the meeting, Dr Bramall-Stainer told GPs: “One point nine percent may be what was set by Treasury in their operational planning guidance back in 2021, but such slavish adherence to budget lines from three years ago is not replicated elsewhere in the NHS. This regrettably falls far below what we realistically need to keep our heads above water, and what GPC England has reasonably called for.”
The GPC noted that it would not be able to prevent the Government imposing a contract, but that the BMA would consider balloting GPs over industrial action if negotiations fail.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, GP and NASGP chair, said: “The GP contract funds all sessional GPs, both salaried and locum, and without adequate support the Government risks catastrophic workforce attrition, assuming that this process hasn’t already started.
“With so much strain in the system already, and with delays in secondary care clogging up our appointments, general practice feels to many of us now like some macabre circus act; managing patients sometimes feels too much like juggling balls and spinning plates – our Government seems to think of us as clowns.”
This article was edited on Friday 2 February to update the status of negotiations.