Government proposes new deal for family doctors

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 19 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:959

Government proposals for the future of primary care in Britain released on Tuesday pave the way for evolutionary changes in general practice over the next decade. A white paper, Choice and Opportunity, foreshadows legislation in next week's Queen's speech for the coming session of parliament.

The white paper proposes removing the present contractual restraints on extending general medical services and allowing family doctors to set up pilots for new models of care delivery. Contracts could incorporate features of the NHS internal market.

In contrast to previous NHS reforms, health secretary Stephen Dorrell aims to keep the profession on his side by emphasising that changes will be voluntary and by consent. Those who prefer the status quo will be free to continue as before. Dr Ian Bogle, chairman of the BMA's General Medical Services Committee said: “It is an agenda we can work with. I cannot find major issue with it as long as it is genuinely voluntary and properly piloted.”

The white paper notes that the distinction between traditional …

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