Government accused of double standards after introducing new GP contract
Almost £1 billion extra investment will be made to improve access to family doctors with the introduction of the GP contract.
NHS England has been testing a reformed dental contract for the last few years.
‘It’s good to see a joined-up approach to primary care services,’ BDA chair of General Dental Practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said.
‘With practitioners getting the investment needed and promised.
‘Reform can take pressure off GPs, but there’s so much high street dentistry can do to help share that burden.
‘Government now risks employing double standards in its approach to primary care.
‘The logic on investment, integration and improved access is irresistible.
‘Failure to apply it consistently will leave this service facing an uncertain future.’
Recent headlines have highlighted access problems with NHS dentistry, which is forcing patients to seek ‘DIY’ alternatives.
Reports have found patients in Cornwall spending 18-36 months on NHS dental practice waiting lists.
Some patients in the area are facing 65-mile round trips to access NHS dental services.
‘Dentistry cannot be left in a silo.
‘A string of recent headlines have shown that patients in many parts of England now lack access to basic services.
‘Recruitment and retention problems are mounting.
‘Ministers must not write off these problems as “business as usual”.’
GP contract changes
The new contract aims to address both workforce and workload pressures GPs currently experience in England.
Some of the changes include:
- An increase in practice funding by almost £1bn over five years
- Practices will be expected to make 25% of appointments bookable online from July 2019
- HPV vaccination catch-up for girls will be extended to those aged 25. HPV vaccination will commence for boys in September 2019
- GPs whose NHS earnings are over £150,000 will be required to make this public.
‘We are confident that these widespread changes – the most significant in 15 years – will deliver the best not just for GPs across England, but also for the patients they treat on a daily basis,’ Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said.
‘We’re pleased after months of discussions with NHS England, to have negotiated a package of reforms to the GP contract.
‘It will begin addressing the unsustainable situation.
‘Whereby doctors are choosing to leave the profession while patients wait longer and longer for appointments.
‘And laying the foundations for a general practice fit for the future.’