Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
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England’s ‘demoralised and broken’ GPs vote for industrial action

An overwhelming 80% of England’s GPs have voted for limited forms of industrial action in protest against the government’s drive to force them to see patients face to face, reports The Guardian.

This has led the profession's new leader to warn ministers that “demoralised, broken and exhausted” family doctors may refuse to undertake some normal duties to show their anger.

“The results show the profession has had enough. Relationships are broken and trust has been lost,” said Dr Farah Jameel, the new chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP committee (GPC).

Four out of five of the GPs who voted in the ballot organised by the BMA backed the withholding of information about how they hold appointments, to thwart the government’s plan to “name and shame” surgeries that see too few patients.

Even more (84%) indicated their willingness to refuse to comply with the issuing of COVID-19 exemption certificates, which those who remain unvaccinated on medical grounds may need, for example, to work in a care home, where staff vaccination is mandatory. Each of the 5,144 GP practices in England where a partner is a BMA member had a vote. However, only 1,798 took part – a 35% response rate – which might indicate a reluctance to take industrial action, reports The Guardian.

“Ultimately we don’t want to have to take action – we want to see action,” Jameel added, in a plea to UK health secretary Sajid Javid to do more to reduce GPs’ huge workloads.

A smaller majority (58%) said they would support their GP practice withdrawing from their local primary care network’s directed enhanced service, which could mean GPs scaling back visits to care homes, for example.

The Telegraph reports there appears to be no plan yet for her to meet Javid or any other health minister to discuss how to resolve the impasse over GP access.

Hopes of a resolution were raised last week when Javid postponed until next year plans to force GPs who make at least £150,000 a year from the NHS to disclose their earnings.
The Department of Health and Social Care has not yet responded with comment.

 

The Guardian article – Broken and exhausted’: GPs in England vote in favour of industrial action (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

British GPs and practice staff quitting over face-to-face appointments

 

Average British GP sees a ‘worrying’ drop in hours worked but earnings increase

 

Getting to see a British GP is ‘like breaking into Fort Knox’

 

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