GPs urged to stand up against bullying LHBs - Welsh LMCs Conference- Bullying by officials and recruitment

GPs in Wales must stop being gullible and stand up to bullying health boards, the GPC has said.

GPC Wales chairman Dr Andrew Dearden told the annual conference of Welsh LMCs near Cardiff this week that there had been a spate of incidents where local health boards (LHBs) had taken advantage of GPs.

There were examples of GPs leaving the profession or being off work with long-term illness because of the stress caused by bullying managers, he said. LMCs had reported several episodes in the past few months alone.

'LHBs are taking a cavalier at-titude to dealing with GPs where there may or may not be a concern,' Dr Dearden said. 'Bullying using back-door methods will no longer be tolerated by the GPC or BMA in Wales.'

He said he was aware of two or three occasions where GPs had been told that their LHB was meeting to discuss them but were not invited or told why.

Dr Dearden accused LHBs of using 'off-road' tactics and not following established local or national procedures.

The conference responded by unanimously passing a motion which read: 'This conference regrets the failure of some local health boards to conduct investigations concerning medical practitioners in accordance with the all-Wales agreements on representation.'

GPC Wales member Dr Greg Graham said there had to be equity and equality across Wales.

'In the south east, things have gone from bad to worse. There are kangaroo courts; they pay no attention to the defence,' he said. 'I have absolutely no confidence in these hearings.'

North Wales LMC chairman Dr Phil White said there was a similar situation in the north east.

He said one GP had been 'advised' not to go to work, but not suspended.

Until a ruling said it contravened human rights, GPs had not even been allowed to defend themselves.

Dr Paul Myres from North Wales LMC, who proposed the motion, said: 'Most of us, most of the time, do a bloody good job. But some GPs are being hauled over the coals for mistakes that colleagues might say they've all made once.'

Dr Dearden said that GPs must stand up for themselves.

'The contract seems to have happened to GPs rather than GPs using the contract,' he said. 'Don't believe everything you're told by the LHBs.'

The GPC intends to publish guidelines in the coming months over how to counter bullying.

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