Government has 'failed to provide' support GPs need to fight COVID-19, LMCs warn

The government has failed to provide general practice with the funding or resources it needs to fight COVID-19, LMCs will argue at a BMA conference later this month.

LMC conference (Photo: JH Lancy)
LMC conference (Photo: JH Lancy)

The LMC conference for England on 27 November will debate a motion criticising the government's failure to provide the funding and resources practices need to fight the pandemic.

The motion also warns that chancellor Rishi Sunak's statement earlier this year that the NHS would 'get whatever it needs' is 'completely out of step with reality'.

GP leaders will argue at the conference - to be held online - that general practice needs 'significantly more investment' to maintain services - and will call for further steps to protect GP income and increased flexibility to allow funding available through the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) to be used to employ locums and practice nurses.

GP workload

LMC delegates will hit out at the transfer of unfunded work from secondary care to practices during the pandemic - and will warn that future changes to the primary care network (PCN) DES should be agreed by a ballot of the profession.

Doctors' leaders at the conference will also speak out over the 'economic and professional impact' of the COVID-19 pandemic on locum GPs - calling for locums to be prioritised for work ahead of doctors returning to support the workforce during the pandemic.

Details of motions for debate at the LMCs conference later this month come after the release of final details of plans for a GP-led COVID-19 vaccination campaign that could begin from 1 December.

NHS England has also announced a £150m GP COVID capacity expansion fund intended to support the profession through the second wave of the pandemic.

NHS England

GP leaders at the LMCs conference will also debate motions heavily criticising NHS England over 'abhorrent and insulting' communications with the profession, the press and the public.

NHS England apologised earlier this year after suggesting that GP practices were failing to offer face-to-face appointments when necessary - despite a huge increase in in-person appointments since the pandemic began.

LMCs will demand a further apology and vote on whether to insist on the retraction of 'all communications that have implied general practitioners have not been fully involved in patient care throughout the pandemic, staining our reputation and inciting complaints'.

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