LMCs less militant on GMS contract protest

LMC representatives in Wales and Northern Ireland backed GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum, but have criticised the GPC’s handling of negative spin against the profession.

Three quarters of representatives at national LMCs conferences for Wales and Northern Ireland on 31 March and 1 April who responded to a GP survey said Dr Meldrum should not quit despite the pay freeze.

But the same number said the GPC had not done enough to counter negative media reports and government briefing against GPs. LMC representatives strongly backed plans to refuse any new unfunded work and to ditch existing work that did not benefit patients.

More than 85 per cent said they would refuse new unpaid work, and over half planned to ditch existing work.

A majority also criticised the GPC’s decision not to take national action in response to the pay freeze. A total of 14 said there should have been action.

Belfast GP Dr Michael McKenna said at the Northern Ireland conference: ‘We are expecting a 6 to 10 per cent cut in profits this year. This is wrong, and we have to take a stand.’

Dr McKenna planned to refuse new unfunded work including ‘any new local enhanced service activity’.

Other work he planned to refuse included anything devolved from hospital, such as suture removal or post-operative checks and patient surveys.

Belfast GP Dr Lewis Miller said responding to the GP survey was the only opportunity he had been given to express his views about government actions on GP pay, and called for the GPC to do more to ascertain GPs’ views.

Dr Phil White, a GP in Menai Bridge, near Anglesey, north Wales, said he would ditch pre-operative checks. He said he would also refuse to answer ‘stupid lab requests for data they al-ready hold’.

The GPC meets LMC secretaries in London on 19 April and will undertake a national survey of GPs in response to the pay freeze. The Scotland LMCs conference takes place on 26 April.

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