Last week doctors' leaders at the BMA annual representative meeting (ARM) backed a motion by around 2:1 calling for the withdrawal of practices from PCNs by 2023.
But after deputy chair of England’s GP committee, Dr Kieran Sharrock, spoke against the motion at the ARM there are fears that it will be slow to act on implementing the policy.
Dr John Hughes, chair of GP Survival, said PCNs had been a poisoned chalice for the profession.
‘For at least 18 months the GPC executive has been out of step with grassroots GPs, now it’s being told yet again that PCNs have been a disaster,' he said. ‘The GPC executive needs to listen to members and issue a statement on withdrawal from PCNs.’
The GPC executive is due to hold a meeting on the policy on 21 July.
Dr Jackie Applebee, who spoke in favour of the policy at the ARM, stressed the importance of the GPC taking a lead on withdrawing practices from PCNs rather than leaving individual practices to withdraw by themselves.
‘It’s hard for individual GP practices because they are small and can be victimised, so whatever we do should be done collectively,’ she said.
Dr Sharrock told GPonline: ‘It’s not currently clear how many practices would withdraw from their PCN, but the association will work to provide tools to help surgeries to assess what the impact of withdrawal would be, and, alongside LMCs, work out what ongoing support would be needed for any practice that does choose to withdraw.’
The calls come less than two months after a QC’s report for the GP Defence Fund found that GP representation in the BMA is ‘dysfunctional’, run by an old boys’ network and disconnected from LMCs and grassroots doctors.