LMC Conference 2016: GPs condemn 'dangerous' firearms licence reforms

GPs have voted overwhelmingly for clarification and support on 'dangerous' changes made this year to the way firearms licences are issued, urging the GPC to 'urgently revise' the process.

Dr Anthony O'Brien: The new system is ‘bizarre’ and ‘dangerous’
Dr Anthony O'Brien: The new system is ‘bizarre’ and ‘dangerous’

The process for issuing firearms licences imposed from 1 April 2016 – which involves additional unfunded work from GPs to sign forms – should be changed, GPs demanded at the LMCs conference 2016.

Delegates told the conference they were not aware of the changes to the system ‘until the forms started piling up on the desk’.

Proposing the motion, Dr Anthony O’Brien, from Devon LMC, called for ‘clear guidance and support for how to deal with the unfunded workload’.

It is ‘bizarre’ and ‘dangerous’, he added, that the system works by granting certificates before GPs are sent the consent forms.

GP licensing role

Cumbria LMC’s Dr Peter Weeks said: ‘This is not general practice work, this is specialist work. I am not anti-guns or anti-licences – however, this has been dealt with appallingly by the BMA.’

Dr Mark Ironmonger, from Kent LMC, said: ‘I don’t think GPs should be involved at all in this process.'

GPC member Dr John Canning said the current system was safer than the one it replaced. He said: ‘The current system is clear: if you don’t want to partake and return the form straight away to the police, you are entitled to do so.

‘Send it back before you accept it. Do not sit on it, because there is a presumption that if you accept work then you have a duty to do it properly. Not rejecting it in a reasonable time period is taken as accepting. Tell them you are not resourced.’

LMCs backed a motion calling for certificates to be issued only after GP involvement, for clarification on fees and the 'medico-legal validity' of the process.

Photo: JH Lancy

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