Patients and moderate doctors have united in fury against Left-wing GPs threatening industrial action over face-to-face appointments.
The British Medical Association was yesterday condemned for its ‘tone-deaf’ refusal to comply with orders to see more patients in person.
MPs warned that a ‘handful of extremists’ running the union were trying to ‘bounce rank-and-file doctors into industrial action at a time of national emergency’.
Doctors also criticised the BMA for ‘misreading the public mood’ at a time when millions of patients were struggling to access vital care.
The Daily Mail is urging for face-toface appointments to be restored to consultations. This compares to 80 percent before the pandemic.
The British Medical Association was yesterday condemned for its ‘tone-deaf’ refusal to comply with orders to see more patients in person. This comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid (Above) unveiled a nine-point package of measures to improve patient access last week
Doctors also criticised the BMA for ‘misreading the public mood’ at a time when millions of patients were struggling to access vital care
The Daily Mail is calling for a return of face-to-face consultations. They now account for just 57% of all consultations, compared to 88% before the pandemic.
Last week, Sajid Javid (Health Secretary) unveiled a nine-point plan of measures to improve patient access.
But on Thursday the BMA’s GP committee voted unanimously to reject the plan, claiming they ‘had no alternative’ but to ballot members on industrial action aimed at reducing their workload.
The BMA has urged the country’s 6,600 GP practices to refuse to participate in plans to ‘name and shame’ surgeries which don’t see enough patients in person.
Ministers will be cautious of inflaming the situation, as the NHS enters winter crisis.
But campaigners called on the Health Secretary to ‘get a grip’ on the situation and say it is vital GPs comply with the plans for more face-to-face appointments for the sake of patients.
Dennis Reed, of campaign group Silver Voices, said: ‘If GPs are going to refuse to comply voluntarily, then face-to-face appointments should be made a legal requirement. Sajid Javid has been silent and needs to get a grip on this issue.’
Paul Bristow, a Tory MP and member of the Commons health committee, said: ‘Rank-and-file doctors should not be bounced into industrial action at this time of national emergency. The last thing our fight against Covid needs is threats from a handful of extremists.’
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said: ‘With the threat of increased infections and possible hospitalisations, I’m surprised the BMA think this should be the time for this.’
Dr Laurence Gerlis, a GP from Same Day Doctor, told GB News: ‘The doctors have misread the public mood… and public sympathy for GPs is at an all-time low. A few GPs have used the pandemic to avoid seeing patients, either because they were frightened of catching Covid or because they saw it as a way of doing less work.’
Matthew Lesh, of the Adam Smith Institute think-tank, said: ‘Somehow, GPs find it outrageous that taxpayers, who are paying their salaries, are demanding that they provide face-to-face appointments.’
But Liberal Democrat health spokesman Daisy Cooper said: ‘This shows the Government’s deliberately provocative plans to name and shame GPs has backfired.
‘Sajid Javid must now dial down the rhetoric and get round the table with doctors and patient groups to find a way forward.’ As part of the proposed industrial action, the BMA will ballot members on whether GPs should refuse to sign vaccine exemption certificates, potentially ruining hundreds of family holidays.
These certificates serve as official proof that patients can’t be vaccinated because of medical reasons. They are required for people who are medically unfit to travel overseas.
According to the BMA, family doctors are too busy to review certificates applications.