Welsh health minister could unveil GP funding uplift at LMCs conference

GP leaders in Wales are hopeful that a contract funding uplift will be announced by the health secretary when he addresses LMCs on Saturday.

GPC Wales deputy chair Dr David Bailey (Photo: JH Lancy)
GPC Wales deputy chair Dr David Bailey (Photo: JH Lancy)

Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething could reveal details of a deal struck in contract talks with GPC Wales at the annual conference of LMCs which meets in Newport.

GPC deputy chair Dr David Bailey told GPonline that funding would be a ‘big issue’ for the conference and GP leaders were ‘hoping to see an uplift’ in the contract announced.

Discussions with the government have also focussed on proposed changes to enhanced services.

GP enhanced services

Motions to be debated by LMC representatives include the possible phasing out of local enhanced services (LESs), and handing LESs over to regional 'clusters' of GP practices.

Dr Bailey said GPC Wales had been in talks with the government and was ‘fairly optimistic’ but LMC representatives would have to wait and see whether the health secretary was in a position to make an announcement on Saturday.

‘We are hoping to see an uplift in general practice funding, clearly,' Dr Bailey said. ‘We have had active discussions about that and about the way we might deliver better enhanced services across Wales, particularly around things like nursing, but [Mr Gething] is still mulling over discussions, I think, so we will have to see what he has to say at the weekend.’

The conference will hold special themed debates on indemnity costs and co-payments for NHS services. LMCs will discuss whether the GPC should call for direct funding of medical indemnity.

Salaried GP service

Dr Bailey said he expected most representatives at the conference would ‘probably be against’ co-payments but the issue had come up in response to plans in Northern Ireland to quit the health service and introduce a private service.

GPs will also debate a proposal to ‘reluctantly’ consider the development of a salaried service in light of the undermining of the contractor model.

Dr Bailey said the proposal would follow a motion reiterating LMCs’ support for independent contractors as the primary model. ‘We didn't want to set any hares running that we are in favour of a salaried service,' he said, ‘just that with millennials coming through we need to look a bit more at how that might work for people who want it.’

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