LMCs conference 2016: GPs to debate response to Forward View

GP leaders at the 2016 LMCs conference this month could debate calls to ballot the profession over mass resignation, despite the publication of NHS England's GP Forward View bailout package.

Motions were submitted for debate at the conference before the GP Forward View - which set out plans to boost the share of NHS funding spent on general practice to more than 10% by 2020/21 - was announced last month.

LMCs sent in motions demanding an immediate ballot of the profession to allow the GPC to collect undated contract resignations from practices, while other motions called for a ballot on other forms of industrial action.

Avon LMC called for the BMA to investigate 'mechanisms for GPs to practise independently of the NHS', while others called for the resignation of health secretary Jeremy Hunt and for a ballot to determine whether practices would be willing to stop registering new patients because of unmanageable workload.

GP Forward View

Despite the publication of the GP Forward View, GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that he expected calls for mass resignations to remain 'a very live issue', as LMCs compile supplementary motions for debate in light of the support package's publication.

'Many GPs remain convinced that is what we should be doing,' Dr Vautrey said. 'They are unhappy the funding is a few years away and want action now. There are others who believe there are signs of hope and who have been pleased to see some attempts to address the concerns facing the profession.

'There is a huge amount of detail to be negotiated, and many unanswered questions.'

He said the GPC would fight hard to secure resources as quickly as possible into practice budgets, 'so we can turn the tide on the crisis'.

Read the conference agenda in full

'There is no point promising jam tomorrow if there's no bread today to put it on,' he warned. 'We can't wait three or four years for support when practices are closing as we speak.'

LMCs will also voice support for junior doctors over recent strike action in protest at government plans to impose a new contract, and will hit out at the government over plans for seven-day working. One motion condemns the 'current emphasis on seven-day working' as 'a political push for the unachievable'.

Motions will also demand support for practice premises, plans to boost the workforce and tackle soaring workload.

GPs will also debate the role of the GPC and how well it represents the profession - the second year in a row in which BMA representation of GPs has been a major talking point at the LMCs conference.

Dr Vautrey said: 'I believe GPC does represent the grassroots - we are one of the most representative bodies around. The debate is around how we continue to evolve and operate - this is a process we kicked off two years ago - we have been inviting LMCs to do that. We want to build and strengthen the partnership between LMCs and the GPC.'

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