LMCs investigate rising GP workload pressures

LMCs are gathering information on rising GP workload, as the GPC builds its case against GMS contract changes.

Dr Nigel Watson: we have seen a rise in GPs burning out (photo: Solent News)
Dr Nigel Watson: we have seen a rise in GPs burning out (photo: Solent News)

LMCs in south-west England and Nottinghamshire are surveying local GPs to build a picture of how workload is affecting morale and practice viability.

The GPC sent a survey to all GPs asking whether changes the DH plans to impose to the 2013/14 contract would force them to quit the NHS.

LMCs are running their own polls to gauge local problems and will feed the findings into the national survey.

Around 6,000 GPs across Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wessex and Gloucestershire received a GP ‘workload pressures’ survey.

In Nottinghamshire, the local LMC has sent a 'discussion paper' to its 175 practices, asking them to report any work that is not 'core' to the GMS contract which has been moved into general practice without funding.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, one of the LMCs taking part in the south-west England survey, said it was a reaction to falling GP morale. ‘Most of us have seen a rise in GPs burning out, leaving practices and going through performance procedures.’

The survey contains questions such as: ‘How sustainable is your current working pattern over the next 3-5 years?’, as well as questions on contract changes, such as: ‘What effect do you think the government's contract imposition will have on the viability of your practice?'

Dr Watson said the survey was ‘not a direct result’ of contract proposals but the results were likely to be fed back to GPC negotiators.

He said the results of south-west survey would be used to assess the state of general practice at a local level, and in negotiations with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Nottinghamshire LMC chief executive Chris Locke said the LMC would ‘certainly’ be reporting its findings to the GPC. Contract changes are ‘going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back’, Mr Locke said.

Nottinghamshire LMC will also use the results of its survey ‘as a reference document when we are in discussion with CCGs and the NHS CB local area teams’, Mr Locke added.

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