LMCs are preparing motions calling on GPC to ballot the profession over industrial action in response to the crisis of funding, workforce and workload.
GP leaders have also called for debates on mass refusal to co-operate with the CQC and for practices to be allowed flexibility to drop contractual requirements if workload hits emergency levels.
A motion submitted by Tower Hamlets LMC demands that the GPC ‘ballots all GPs on whether they are prepared to consider industrial action to ensure a safe and sustainable general practice for patients’. A GPonline poll in December revealed that two thirds of GPs want a ballot on industrial action.
GP industrial action
The motion notes the ‘unprecedented workforce crisis in general practice and the tireless work of the GPC and its executive to engage government in finding effective solutions’, but it adds that ‘government is not listening’.
A separate motion submitted by Tower Hamlets instructs all GPs to ‘cease to co-operate with CQC inspections until such a time that general practice resources, in terms of time, money and manpower, are restored to a level which is adequate to be able to support the inspections without adding to the existing strain on patient care’.
A no confidence motion calls for the immediate ‘removal’ of Professor Steve Field as CQC chief inspector of general practice, just days after the GPC backed a motion calling on him to resign.
Tower Hamlets in east London has been at the forefront of the profession's response to the current crisis. The high profile Save Our Surgeries campaign launched in 2014 in response to MPIG cuts saw thousands of people march against the threat of practice closures. GPs eventually secured additional NHS England funding to cover funding losses.
GPs in Cleveland have submitted a motion calling for more flexibility for GPs over contractual requirements in times of crisis. Freedom to declare an emergency in the same way as hospitals can could help GPs cope with pressure by closing lists or carrying out only emergency home visits, for example.
GP crisis conference
More than 40% said they would support industrial action involving the refusal to carry out non-core work.
Almost 40% of GPs said they were prepared to take part in action such as refusing to carry out all but urgent and emergency work.
President of Doctors in Unite/Medical Practitioners Union Dr Ron Singer, a former GPC member, said there was ‘no question’ industrial action by GPs was possible if doctors’ leaders focus on a single issue ‘worth going to the wall about’.