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BMJ. 1997 Mar 22;314(7084):895-8.

Primary care--opportunities and threats. The changing meaning of the GP contract.

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  • 1All Souls College, Oxford.


The meaning of the GP contract has changed since the last major upheaval in the mid-1960s. The government has always dealt with general practitioners as independent contractors, but the way in which it treated them in 1990 was entirely different from the way in which they were treated in 1966. In 1966, the profession's independent contractor status effectively served to protect professional autonomy. In 1990, with the change in the form of government towards a "contract state," general practitioners were treated as independent contractors more in the sense of business entrepreneurs. The article finishes by raising the issue of how general practitioners can gain control over the medicopolitical agenda in the future.

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