GPC to demand concessions on funding, CQC and workload to avoid industrial action

The GPC will demand faster GP funding growth, a workload cap and replacement of the CQC with a slimmed-down regulation model in talks to avoid balloting the profession on industrial action or mass resignation later this year.

GP leaders will meet in June to draw up plans for negotiations with NHS England after GPs at last week's LMCs conference 2016 declared that the GP Forward View was an 'inadequate response to the crisis facing the profession.

LMCs voted to ballot GPs on their willingness to sign undated resignations or take part in industrial action if the government failed to accept measures set out in the GPC's Urgent prescription for general practice document within three months of the conference.

Although a formal deadline is yet to be defined, if the GPC's requirements are not accepted a ballot could go ahead towards the end of this summer.

GP funding

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul confirmed the committee would push for front-loading of the £2.4bn funding increase by 2021 pledged in the GP Forward View, for the CQC regime to be scrapped and replaced and for workload caps on the number of patients GPs can safely see a day to be implemented as part of the negotiations.

NHS England must accept these proposals, he added, and if they are deemed not to have ‘responded to an adequate degree’ by the deadline, the ballot will go ahead.

He told GPonline the GPC wanted the Urgent Prescription to be accepted as a whole by NHS England.

‘We want the prescription – as a package – to be accepted by NHS England,’ he said. ‘What we intend to do now is have a dialogue on the areas where the GP Forward View doesn’t address our prescription priorities, and that is the next step.

‘We need to now work up the implementation of this motion and the process of how we will judge whether NHS England have responded or accepted the urgent prescription. The GPC is meeting next month, in June, and we will discuss the process of implementing this motion.’

He said it was ‘too early to say’ to what extent NHS England must agree with the Urgent Prescription’s proposals to avert the ballot.

‘The first priority now is to move forward from the motion, which is very clear that the package of support that we believe general practice needs through the Urgent Prescription needs to be accepted by NHS England. It’s not possible for me to prejudge or speculate what NHS England’s response will be.

LMC conference 2016: full coverage

‘After three months, we will be in a position to decide and assess the progress made and whether NHS England has responded to an adequate degree or not.

‘Clearly, some of these proposals need to be worked up. What we’re saying is that the proposals need to be accepted, but there will be a time lag obviously in developing some of these initiatives – such as our proposal to have overflow facilities for practices when they’ve reached their maximum limit of workload – these will require to be worked up and the models will need to be developed.'

Survey findings revealed on Thursday by GPonline suggested GPs would back a workload cap of 30 consultations per day - and that many currently provide up to twice this amount.

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘We believe strongly that with the CQC, it’s not about reducing the frequency of inspection, but replacing the current system. So that will again be part of our negotiations. These proposals need to be accepted within three months, and then change needs to take place as quickly as possible thereafter.’

The Urgent Prescription called for GP funding to rise to 11% of the NHS budget, which would require a £2.5bn increase in funding. The Forward View has promised funding will rise by £2.4bn, which will bring general practice’s share of funding to around 10%.

‘The Forward View has given a trajectory of spend which would £2.4bn recurrent spending in 2021,' Dr Nagpaul said. 'We’re saying that that resource needs to be front-loaded so that general practice can be supported, not waiting four or five years for the funding to reach practices.

‘At the moment, the Forward View appears to be proposing an even increase in spend, but even that's not clear. It’s not clear in the Forward View how they will invest this, but it suggests there will be a linear progression, and we believe it needs to be front-loaded. So that will form part of our dialogue.’

An NHS England spokesman said: 'The widely-supported new GP Forward View, backed by a ground-breaking £2.4bn action plan, will help tackle longstanding pressures in primary care, but of course we know this a step on the journey, not the final destination.'

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