GP leaders at the BMA have written to NHS England to say they are entering into a dispute with them.

It is over changes to the service GMS contract for 2024/25 that the Government has with GPs in England, and the BMA is warning that industrial action could be on the horizon unless urgent improvements are made to the contract.

In a letter written to Amanda Doyle, national director for primary care and community services, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of GPC England at the BMA, said the decision follows the results of the Association’s GP referendum, in which almost 100 per cent of more than 19,000 GPs and GP registrars who voted said they did not accept the 2024/25 GMS Contract for General Practice from Government and NHS England.

The 24/25 contract was imposed on April 1 2024.

One of the main areas of concern for patient care is around the ongoing difficulties GPs have in recruiting more family doctors.

Practices already have access to a funding pot that lets them hire more staff, but not GPs.

Dr Bramall-Stainer said: “GPs and their patients want the same thing. We want patients to be able to see their family doctor, quickly and easily, in a practice that is local to them, well-staffed and resourced, and safe.

“This contract imposition will do untold damage to our profession, making it harder for surgeries to stay open and give the care our patients need.

“We don’t want to take any kind of industrial action and hope it can be avoided, but the further NHS England and the Government get from working with us on solutions, the closer GPs get to taking action.”

The news comes at a time when GPs across Cumbria are already under significant pressure.

A report published by the Lancashire and Cumbria Consortium of Local Medical Committees says that the financial pressures faced by GP surgeries in Cumbria is 'alarming’.

The report seeks to highlight the problems felt by GPs which has led to more than 200,000 people in Cumbria being signed up to GP practices which are 'at risk’.

"The future of general practice, collectively and individually, is at stake here,” said the report.

“If action and serious attention is not given to this pressing issue, there is a very real possibility of mass practice closures and patients finding that access to a GP will worsen significantly."

READ MORE: 'Future of general practice at stake' across Cumbria, says report

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “GPs and their teams are at the heart of our communities, and we hugely value their vital work.

“The Government listened to feedback from general practice and the new contract will provide the biggest reduction of unnecessary and burdensome bureaucracy in 20 years, so they can spend more valuable time with their patients, while also giving them greater autonomy to run local practices.

“Further pay uplifts may be made to the GP contract following the Government’s response to the independent Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists Remuneration.”