GP ‘support package' to combat pay freeze

GP leaders are to roll out a ‘support package' for LMCs to supplement earlier guidance for practices on increasing cost effectiveness to combat the pay freeze.

GPC negotiators announced the move after a special meeting with LMC leaders from across the UK last week to discuss the GPC response to the pay freeze.

LMCs told the GPC that local surveys of GP opinion had not given them a mandate for industrial action. But they expressed ‘immense anger’ according to LMC conference chairwoman Dr Fay Wilson and said more needed to be done.

Despite the anger, GP leaders said the meeting was constructive and positive. LMC leaders discussed how effective local responses could be copied in other parts of the UK.

Examples of action taken or supported by LMCs will form part of the support package, but GP leaders refused to reveal details until this had been presented to the profession.

The guidance will contain legal advice for LMCs on the types of action they can take without contravening regulations.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: ‘There was a general coming together of view about what we should and should not be doing.

‘There was a consensus that there was little or no appetite for anything that would be formal industrial action or that would harm patients.’

He said there was a ‘grim determination’ that, although this was not the time for strikes, GPs should not be pushed around.

‘I would advise the NHS Employers not to take GPs not calling for strikes as a sign of weakness,’ Dr Meldrum added.

Dr Meldrum also revealed some more details on the contract negotiations with NHS Employers. ‘We never got into the fine detail because we couldn’t disentangle the strings attached,’ he said.

‘They never got remotely near the ballpark of an offer which we felt we could agree on the terms set out for us by the LMCs conference in 2006.’

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