LMCs defend primary care value

Darzi reforms and the value of GPs top the annual LMCs conference agenda reports Neil Durham.

LMC representatives from all over the UK will debate whether to call on the government to recognise how cheaply it is getting world-class primary care.

The motion forms part of the first debate at the two-day conference in London next week.

The news comes as London-wide LMCs issued a message backing GP's Valuing General Practice campaign. It said: 'Modern general practice is at the heart of family healthcare. Any campaign that highlights the threats to local GP services, which many patients and stakeholders might not be aware of, is worth supporting.'

The 2008 national LMCs conference in central London is called Standing Up For General Practice. Health minister Lord Ara Darzi features heavily in the agenda. The conference will debate whether the government should reconsider imposing a Darzi centre in each PCT, the concept of doctors other than accredited GPs performing primary medical services in Darzi clinics and a motion of no confidence in Darzi.

One motion calls for Choose and Book to be suspended with another suggesting it be renamed 'hide and seek' because it is not fit for purpose in its current format.

The GPC also faces criticism with one motion urging a no confidence vote in its ability to defend general practice. The motion states that the GPC has so far failed to convince the profession it has a credible strategy to counteract the government's wish to privatise the delivery of NHS primary care'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, who will make his first speech to the conference as chairman, told GP last week that he expected the more controversial motions, which include calls for mass undated resignations, to receive little support. 'I anticipate there will not be much support on the ground for resignations,' he said.

But the conference will not entirely be taken up recent changes. The perennial issue of changing patients returns. One motion reads: 'When procedures and services aren't commissioned locally and are therefore unavailable to patients as part of the NHS and patients request such procedures and services, GPs should be entitled to charge their NHS registered patients for clinically appropriate delivery of such procedures'.

Another motion suggests a test case for restriction of trade to 'allow GPs equity with their consultant colleagues'.

Other motions will call for publicity about the 'risks' of the shared records spine and whether a legal challenge should be made to the DDRB pay report.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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