Now, GPs are pursuing industrial action to protest face-to-face appointments.

  • Doctors plan industrial action amid dispute over face-toface appointments
  • British Medical Association accused Government officials of ‘adding to the fire’
  • It will be voted on to see if the practices support taking action to reduce workload
  • Only 61% of people are now face-to-face. This is down from 80% prior to the Covid pandemic.

Doctors As the furious row over face to face appointments intensifies, industrial action plans are being made.

Last night, The British Medical Association stated that it will poll practices to see whether they support taking action in order to reduce their unmanageable workload’.

It also accused NHS England and the Government of ‘adding fuel the fire’ by failing ot back on plans to improve patient access.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, presented a nine-point plan of measures earlier this month to address the difficulties of visiting a GP in person.

It was the result of a Daily Mail campaign to increase the number of appointments that are held in-person. Only 61% of people are now face-to-face, a drop from 81% before the pandemic.

British Medical Association said it will ballot practices to see if they support taking action to reduce an 'unmanageable workload' amid row over face-to-face appointments (stock image)

British Medical Association announced it will poll practices to determine if they support taking steps to reduce an unmanageable workload’ in the midst of a row over face-toface appointments. Stock image 

The £250million plan would mean doctors cannot deny a face-to-face appointment unless there is a good clinical reason – and surgeries which don’t deliver enough in-person consultations would be named and shamed.

However, this sparked a dispute between the BMA and GPs who urged them to refuse to adhere to the plan they called a bully’s Charter’.

Despite rumors that it would back down due to the threat of strike action by the Left-wing doctors union, it said it will now hold an “indicative ballot” of GP practices across England.

They will be asked whether they support industrial action in four key areas, including naming and shame of practices that do not improve face-to-face accessibility. 

They will also be asked if they will comply with rules on ‘pay transparency’, which would mean that GPs earning over £150,000 are named.

They will also be asked if they should refuse to supervise medical exemptions for those who are unable to get vaccinated. This has increased their workload.

Currently just 6per cent are face-to-face, down from 80 per cent before the pandemic

Only 61% of appointments are currently face-to-face. This is down from 80% before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The results will be known by next week and could open the door to the first industrial action of doctors since the junior doctors strike five years back.

Patients, MPs, moderate doctors and patient groups all called on the BMA for a compromise with ministers in order to save millions of patients. 

The row has only intensified over the past days. Last night, BMA said that recent comments from the Department of Health had only added to the frustration felt by GPs.

This refers to a statement made by the department on Thursday, in which it stated that it will not relent on its plans to publish surgery-level information on face-toface appointments. 

A spokesperson said that there were no plans to alter the measures taken earlier in the month to support our amazing GPs.

Transparency in data is crucial to ensuring that healthcare is accessible across the country. 

Dr Richard Vautrey of the BMA defended industrial action plans and said that the workload faced by GPs was ‘unmanageable’ and that patient care was suffering.

He stated that the actions were not directed towards patients, but only at NHS England and the Government. They must act immediately to end the abuse, reverse the unsustainable workload, and address the burnout felt in many GPs’ and their teams.

“The Government’s plan has fueled the fire by creating more bureaucracy, punitive measures for practice and demoralizing the entire workforce.”