GP contract will 'collapse by default' unless government acts to save partnerships

The GMS contract will 'collapse by default' unless the government delivers urgent investment in general practice and takes action to rebuild confidence in GP partnerships, Welsh LMCs will warn this month.

GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones (Photo: Ray Farley)
GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones (Photo: Ray Farley)

The opening motion for debate at the annual conference of Welsh LMCs will call on the government to 'make up its mind whether it truly wants to preserve the independent contractor status of general practice'.

Delegates at the conference will hit out at health boards that have taken direct control of GP practices in some areas of Wales for paying over the odds for locum GPs and 'distorting' costs for other local practices.

GP leaders will also debate calls for 'a sensible cap' on the daily workload a GP can be expected to deliver, to protect 'the safety of patients and the sanity of GPs', and warn that recent guidance from the GMC on reflection as part of revalidation and appraisal remains 'unworkable'.

Partnership model

The option motion calls for rapid action to save the partnership model, and urges NHS leaders and the Welsh government to prevent practice closures leading to a domino effect, urging them to 'acknowledge and address the situation where a well functioning practice is progressively destabilised when a neighbouring practice falls'.

A heatmap of practices at risk published by the BMA last year revealed that one in five GP practices in Wales were at risk of closure.

The warning from Welsh LMCs over the future of GP partnerships follows an interim report last month from a review in England that aims to revitalise the partnership model. Review chair Dr Nigel Watson's initial report called for a drive to rebalance the GP workforce by incentivising partnership roles over locum work. 

Last person standing

LMCs at the Welsh conference will also demand steps to ease GPs' concerns over being left as the 'last person standing' when fellow partners retire.

Delegates at the conference will debate calls for clusters of GP practices to be handed greater control over budgets both for commissioning community NHS services, and out-of-hours GP care.

The Welsh LMCs conference takes place on 10 November in the Vale of Glamorgan.

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