The GPC agrees with the DDA that dispensing is a vital component of rural practice viability.
That was the clear message from GPC deputy chair Dr Kieran Sharrock in a remote presentation to the DDA conference.
Unable to attend in person due to a GMS contract negotiation meeting, Dr Sharrock agreed with the DDA’s position: “There is a good argument that the feescale does not work well.”
He told the audience that implementing the Electronic Prescription Service in dispensing practices was a priority for the GPC, and he emphasised with the specific recruitment difficulties in rural areas. He said: “70 per cent of new GPs are international. Their preferred destinations are towns and cities where culture and language are more accessible.”
To inform the current GMS contract negotiations, Dr Sharrock held a snap poll of GP partners’ attitudes to industrial action. The poll showed that around half of delegates were in favour of some form of industrial action.
Dr Sharrock said: “Every option will be considered. We want to do the least harm to patients. But if we keep on running as fast as we can, they will just turn the speed up. Maybe, we need to step back and wait for the consequences.”
He explained to delegates that the remit of the current negotiation round – to establish the GMS contract from 2024 – will include further Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) and Impact and Investment Fund (IIF) flexibility, funding into core not PCN DES and support for increased practice expenses. He warned that inflation could see practices close.
However, given that the previous contract was not agreed or endorsed by the BMA, he asked delegates to consider what happens if negotiations collapse.
BMA members are invited to send any comments or feedback by email to the BMA
View the presentation: GPC England overview.