The activities are the first phase of a longer term programme to engage with the public on the future of general practice and include:
A new changingnhs.com web portal setting out the key changes and pressures affecting patients. This includes information about NHS reforms in England, including competition and patient choice, NHS funding, the GP contract and out-of-hours services. It also offers doctors’ views and explains how patients can have their say.
A poster for GPs to display in their practices directing patients to changingnhs.com. This is being sent out to GPs in England in the BMJ this week. The web portal will also be promoted through online search ads and web links.
An MP-GP visit scheme which invites MPs to spend time in a practice in their constituency to see what’s happening on the ground and to talk directly to practice staff about their priorities and concerns.
Dr Laurence Buckman, Chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said:
“The NHS is experiencing a period of profound change as it tries to absorb the impact of the Health and Social Care Act and unprecedented pressure from rising patient demand and an increasingly tight financial climate. General practice in particular is facing a testing time as it comes to terms with the introduction of clinical commissioning groups, imposed changes to the GP contract and continued pressure on out-of-hours services.
“GPs feel that our patients aren’t getting the real story about what is happening in the NHS which is why the BMA is launching this initiative. In a turbulent world, it is vital that GPs play a key role in giving patients the information they need about how their NHS is changing. We will be building on this initiative over the coming months, as we respond to the impact of the changes and pressures and as we seek to develop a positive way forward for general practice for our patients.”
The BMA website says "many doctors are really worried about several aspects of the latest changes to how the NHS is run and to how the financial pressures are being managed."
There is also a poll on the website for patients to have their say on how they think the NHS changes will affect them.