BMA votes to launch 'full-blown' Save our Surgeries campaign

The BMA could be set to launch a 'full-blown', national 'Save our Surgeries' campaign to defend practices on the brink of closure, after delegates at its annual representative meeting (ARM) in Manchester overwhelmingly backed the move.

Save our Surgeries: London campaign backed for national rollout by BMA
Save our Surgeries: London campaign backed for national rollout by BMA

Delegates at the ARM on Wednesday warned that repeated disinvestment in general practice meant many practices were now ‘threatened by closure’.

The call for a renewed BMA campaign required support from over two thirds of delegates to pass – which it more than surpassed – because it would require significant investment.

Proposing the motion, Buckinghamshire GP Dr Gill Beck said it was time for ‘GPs to restore our slice of the cake’.

General practice funding

‘We all recognise that there is insufficient funding in the system, but general practice has reached tipping point,’ she said.

‘Around 500 practices had to close last year. The decimation of general practice by the government is a national disgrace.

‘On Monday, we accepted the principles of the Five Year Forward View. If this is to succeed, GPs will need to deliver it – well, we may not be there.

‘I truly believe that if GPs fail, then then NHS fails. So please support our cause for better funding – because, you know, you'll miss us when we’re gone.’

A renewed campaign was essential to stop general practice going under, she said. ‘Our surgeries need saving,’ she told conference. ‘So we’ve got to get on and save them.’

GP campaign

Dr Jackie Appleby, a GP in east London who was heavily involved in the area’s Save our Surgeries campaign, beseeched delegates to approve the motion, after BMA leaders raised concerns about its vague wording and high costs.

The east London campaign saw patients, local MPs and GP leaders hit the streets in protest of MPIG cuts – which put many local practices at risk of closure.

‘We should have a national campaign that uses the BMA organisation’s skill and the energy and enthusiasm of those who want to campaign,’ she said.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said general practice ‘had come a long way’ with the Save our Surgeries campaign. ‘We need to make sure that publicity is maintained,’ he added.

In other sections of the motion, delegates backed calls for the BMA to campaign for fair funding for all general practice and for all branches of practice to support GPs to regain funding for primary care.

They also voted to ‘oppose the imposition of "out-of-hospital providers" as proposed in the NHS Five Year Forward View’.

Full wording of the motion backed by BMA representatives:

Motion by THE AGENDA COMMITTEE (MOTION TO BE PROPOSED BY THE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE DIVISION): That this meeting accepts that there has been repeated disinvestment in General Practice with increasing numbers of practices now threatened with closure by recent funding changes and:-

i) opposes the imposition of 'out-of-hospital providers' as proposed in the NHS Five Year Forward View;

ii) urges the BMA to campaign for fair funding for all general practice;

iii) calls upon all branches of practice to support GPs to regain funding for primary care;

iv) calls on the BMA to re-commit to a full blown 'Save our Surgeries' campaign.

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