Medical union tells doctors not to accept new patients after Sajid Javid’s plan for improving patient access was called a ‘bully charter’

  • Dr Richard Vautrey advised GPs to not feel pressured into scheduling face-to-face appointments.
  • The BMA’s GP committee chairman wrote the incendiary letter to GPs sent today
  • It referred to Sajid Javid’s plan to improve patient accessibility as a ‘bully’s charter’  

As the dispute over face-toface appointments escalates, family doctors were told to decline new patients.

The British Medical Association wrote to GPs today claiming Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s plan to improve patient access was a ‘bully’s charter’.

The letter, from BMA GP committee chairman Dr Richard Vautrey, claimed doctors should ‘not feel pressured to return to a traditional ten-minute treadmill of face-to-face consultations’.

The BMA urged GPs not to feel pressured into going back to a 'traditional ten-minute treadmill of face-to-face consultations'

The BMA advised GPs to not feel pressured to return to a ‘traditional ten minute treadmill of face-toface consultations’.

The union advised GPs that they reject many patients sent to them by hospitals or the NHS111 service.

And it said surgeries should ‘apply to close the practice list to focus on the needs of existing patients’, making it impossible for people to register with a new doctor.

The incendiary letter comes as GPs are locked in a stand-off with the Health Secretary over measures aimed at increasing face-to-face appointments – something the Daily Mail is campaigning for as just 57 per cent are currently in-person, compared to 80 per cent pre-Covid.

The BMA last week unanimously rejected Mr Javid’s £250million plan to improve access, and is also pressing ahead with plans to ballot members on industrial action.

Yesterday’s letter also told doctors not to carry out extra shifts in the evenings or at weekends, and to stop providing ‘non-essential’ services such as out-of-hours clinics.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid's plan to improve patient access was deemed a 'bully's charter' in the letter

The letter deemed Sajid Javid, Health Secretary,’s plan to improve patient accessibility a ‘bully charter’

The letter says: ‘We believe Sajid Javid ignored GPs’ expertise and experience when he laid out his bully’s charter, and patient care will suffer as a result.

‘We are now calling on the Government to withdraw their plan and work with us to introduce a new contract that ensures general practice is properly funded with a safer workload and reduced bureaucracy, and ultimately provides better care and services for patients and vastly improved working conditions.’

The Department of Health has not yet commented on the matter. 

But Dennis Reed, of patient campaign group Silver Voices, said patients could become ‘collateral damage’ in the war between the Health Secretary and the BMA.

He added: ‘Both sides need to get round the table and sort it out.’

A GP has suggested an ‘Amazon Prime mentality’ among patients with an ‘inability to wait’ is piling pressure on A&E.

Dr Jonathan Griffiths’ claims have angered campaigners who insist people are only going to casualty because of the struggle to book GP appointments or to be seen face to face.

Dennis Reed, of older people’s campaign group Silver Voices, branded the remark ‘insulting’.

Dr Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, made his comments on a blog, and said many of those who turn up at A&E ‘have nothing wrong with them’.