GPC to demand GP bailout package at meetings this week

GP leaders will demand an emergency bailout package for general practice at meetings with NHS England this week, after LMCs backed calls to canvass the profession on mass resignation.

LMCs at the special LMCs conference in London on 30 January voted for the BMA to work to secure a financial rescue package for the profession within six months, and for the profession to be canvassed on handing in undated contract resignations if support fails to materialise.

The conference also backed a motion calling for 'at least £200 per patient per year' funding for general practice - a sharp rise from the current level of around £140. The demand reflects GP leaders' calls for general practice to receive 11% of the overall NHS budget, in line with funding a decade ago. The profession now receives around 8%.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that negotiators would be meeting with NHS England this week.

The meeting comes after GPonline reported last week that a deal on the 2016/17 GP contract was close, as part of what NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens called a 'wide-ranging' funding package for general practice.

Special LMCs conference: full coverage

'We will be making clear there is no time to waste,' he said. 'We are clearly mandated to test out the views of GPs on what they are prepared to do. We need to deliver something that is long-term and sustainable. The government is often good at coming up with short-term schemes. We need a commitment to getting to 11% of NHS budget [for general practice] - that is in the gift of the government today.'

Dr Vautrey added that practices needed to be encouraged to make use of the BMA's Quality First guidance, which sets out non-core work that practices can cease to provide.

GPonline revealed last year that GP practices deliver care worth tens of millions of pounds for free, because hundreds of practices deliver non-core services for no extra funding.

The GPC deputy chairman said it was 'clear how angry and frustrated delegates were' at the special LMCs conference.

On the vote to explore potential mass resignation, he added: 'It gives a very clear signal that GPs are united in their desire to really see some action and want a rescue package that really does make a difference to the pressures and workload and enables them to deliver a safe service to patients. That is what this is all about - to make sure patients get a better deal.

'The ball is now in the government’s court. Forthcoming announcements [about GP funding] have been trailed in recent days - they need to reflect long and hard about what they are prepared to say. They need to bring something significant forward rather than just promises of more jam tomorrow.'

Read more: Find out what LMC leaders voted for at the special LMCs conference

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