GPC advises GPs on pensions industrial action information to give PCOs

The GPC is advising GPs not to respond to 'threatening' requests from primary care organisations (PCOs) to give a guarantee that they will fulfil their contract on the pensions day of action.

The GPC has emailed GPs and LMCs across the UK advising them to cooperate with their PCO's requests for further information on what action they will be taking on 21 June.

However, it advised GPs not to give a guarantee that they would fulfil their contract on the day of action.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said. ‘Some PCOs scattered around the UK have chosen to ask GPs to write more than the official letter explaining what they are doing. Some of them have been couched in quite unfortunate language.’

Dr Buckman added: ‘Some PCOs have used threatening language. For people to feel threatened, or for threats to be uttered, I think is totally inappropriate.’

In London, practices were sent a letter warning that they faced payment stoppages and a ‘formal contract breach notice’ if they failed to provide essential services in core hours because of the BMA’s planned industrial action on 21 June.

A letter from NHS North West London said that any practices which failed to provide essential services during core hours on the day of action would be regarded as having been in breach of contract ‘even if the individual participating in that industrial action carries out the majority of work he or she would normally undertake’.

Dr Buckman said that GPs should not be intimidated by threatening language used by PCOs. He said that as long as GPs contacted their PCO before hand, it was completely legitimate for contracted GPs to take part in industrial action.

Dr Buckman said that it would be ‘pretty weird’ if PCOs actually enforced contract sanctions on GPs if they took part in the action.

Dr Buckman said: ‘I think its pretty weird if they do it, we’re all meant to be working cooperatively.

‘If that’s the kind of relationship they have with their contractors that doesn’t bode well for the future of the health service. Also it’s rather sad that in their dying days the only thing they have energy for is to have a go at GPs.’

The GPC email sent to all GPs said: 'We are advising practices to notify their PCOs of the change to their service on the day of action using the template letter we have created. This can be found on our website.

'If you are asked by the PCO to go further and provide a guarantee that you will fulfil your contract on the day we would advise you not to do this. In this case you should remind the PCO that taking industrial action is entirely lawful under trade union law, that you have already notified them of changes to your service on the day of action and that you are happy to answer further questions.'

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