Analysis And Comment

General practice under pressure

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:46
  1. Hamish Meldrum, chairman (
  1. 1 General Practitioners Committee, BMA, London WC1H 9JP

    Crystal ball gazing has its problems. There is a temptation to indulge either your worst fears or your most optimistic hopes, to overestimate the speed of progress in some areas, and to completely misjudge developments in others. What you can be absolutely sure of is that you won't be right, so let's get on with the fun.

    Discontented doctors

    In 2015, the NHS and general practice are surviving—just. General practitioners are getting restless with their contract, and the female chair of the General Practitioners Committee is under pressure to negotiate a new one to replace the 2003 version. The quality aspect continued to be developed and was an agreed success, copied in many other countries. However, political interference and the introduction of populist measures, such as “diet MOTs” and awarding points for the standard of refreshments provided in general practices, has led to a professional outcry. This, together with continuing attempts to erode general practitioners' incomes and the government's decision to double the cost of creche payments for the largely female workforce, has brought the profession to the brink of dispute, despite the fact that the recently passed public sector legislation prevents any effective form of industrial action.

    Moreover, general practitioners feel undervalued for the work they are doing in …

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