JUNIOR doctors be warned. A historic new GP contract has been quietly negotiated by the BMA and NHSEngland, designed to catapult NHS healthcare into American models of healthcare for profit.
‘Investment and Evolution: a five-year framework for GP contract reform to implement the NHS Long Term Plan’ was published by the BMA and NHS England on 31st January.
The aim of the NHS LT plan is that not just general practice but the majority of healthcare in England, including hospital care, will be run by giant ‘Integrated Care Providers’ on the capitated budgets of NHS patients in five years time.
GPs running practices are being coerced to join ‘wider Primary Care Networks’ and sign up to new Network contracts, on top of their current core medical services contracts by May and June this year.
These new wider Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are to become the delivery arms ‘integrated Care systems’ run by the 42 STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership boards) covering 1-2 million populations.
STPs are dedicated to huge cuts and privatisation ‘redesign”.
As the PCNs and ICSs grow, with new network ‘investment’ of £1.8bn over five years, they ‘evolve’ into ICPs.
Every year more providers, will be added into the PCNs, such as community providers (e.g Virgin, Serco,) dentists, acute and mental health hospitals, local authority social care, etc making them into giant public private partnerships.
According to this contract change, the solution of the desperate workforce crisis in general practice is the recruitment of over 22,000 more non-doctor network staff, such as ‘first contract physiotherapists’, pharmacists, and ‘clinical paramedics’, to do GP work.
Of course this is not the right solution. Substituting non -doctors for trained doctors will lead to a two tier health system, and the serious risk of missed diagnoses and premature deaths.
In-built in the new GP Network contract are ‘Share Savings Schemes’. Wider PCNs and ICSs will get cash rewards for every outpatient consultation prevented, and every hospital attendance or admission avoided.
All GPs and eventually hospital doctors working under these ICS/ICP regimes will find themselves trained to deny care not to provide necessary care.
All doctors should demand an end to the collaboration of their union with the privatisation plans of the government and the employers. We need a workers government.