Northern Ireland LMCs to debate mass resignation and switch to salaried service

GP leaders in Northern Ireland will urge practices to press ahead with plans to sign undated contract resignations at a conference in Belfast later this week that will also hear calls for general practice to become a salaried service.

GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Tom Black (Photo: JH Lancy)
GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Tom Black (Photo: JH Lancy)

The Northern Ireland LMCs conference 2017 will hear a motion proposed by Southern LMC warning that continuing with the collection of undated contract resignations remains the only way to save general practice from 'destruction'.

Northern LMC will call for the BMA to press ahead with the plan in tandem with development of a 'plan B' - an option described by GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black as 'fee-per-item along the [lines of the] Republic of Ireland model'.

The conference will come just two days after a snap general election in Northern Ireland triggered by the collapse of the government after a renewable heat scandal.

GP crisis

LMCs are set to warn that whatever government is formed after the election, an emergency financial rescue package for general practice must be implemented 'without undue delay'.

In the event of a 'political hiatus', GPs will argue, an interim funding package must be made available for general practice to 'ensure its existence and to enhance and support its infrastructure'.

GPs at the conference will debate 'extreme volumes of work' facing practices in Northern Ireland, and hit out at continuing bureaucracy.

LMCs will call on Northern Ireland's GPC to negotiate a sickness payment scheme similar to the deal announced for England this month, and full funding for soaring medical indemnity costs.

A motion from Eastern LMC will also warn that the current contract is 'no longer fit for purpose' and propose a switch to a salaried service outsourced to a 'primary care provider'.

A broader debate to be held at the conference will discuss 'What will it take to save general practice?', with a final motion to be heard on the day to call on 'the last GP practice holding a contract to please switch off the boilers'.

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