GPs threaten industrial action over face-to-face pressure

22nd October 2021 by NASGP

GPs threaten industrial action over face-to-face pressure

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment, The Guardian reports.

The GPs committee (GPC) at the BMA voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary.

“GPs have been left with no alternative but to take this action. All efforts to persuade the government to introduce a workable plan that will bring immediate and longer-term improvement for doctors and their patients have so far come to nought,” said Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC chair.

The plan released last week by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, included “naming and shaming” surgeries that see too few patients in person.

The last time eligible GPs were balloted in this way was in 2012, with the reminder that self-employed or agency locums can not take action, and that although salaried GPs can, their employing practices do not have to pay them.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, GP locum and NASGP chair, said: “GP locums and salaried GPs often see their role as supporting practices and their patients. With many of us moving from practice to practice, we are continually reminded of the ever increasing burden of bureaucracy and abuse that our colleagues face on a daily basis.

“We were already 6,000 GPs down before this pandemic intensified the crisis many practices were already facing, and now, in its midst, are seeing even more GPs leave. The public and the media are panicking, and rather than come up with a pragmatic solution, the government instead completely missed the chance to offer any new money to tackle chronic recruitment and retention challenges.

“Should this ballot for industrial action go ahead, eligible BMA members will be able to use this opportunity to make their voices heard.”

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