Welsh LMCs debate call to deny locums access to indemnity support

Locums should be denied access to a Welsh version of the state-backed indemnity scheme being developed in England to force more GPs into 'permanent positions', according to a motion that will be debated by Welsh LMCs.

GP leaders say the debate reflects the depth of concern about the GP workforce in Wales, but warned that to bar locums from an indemnity package would be a 'potentially divisive' move.

The motion says that Wales has a 'unique opportunity' to design an indemnity scheme that could 'better the new proposals being implemented in England'.

It adds that a Welsh version of the scheme could 'be for GPs in substantive posts and not locum GPs, and thereby bring GPs back into permanent positions and go some way to ease the recruitment crisis'.

Senior BMA GPs generally avoid pre-empting debate on motions put forward for LMCs conferences, but BMA Wales chair Dr David Bailey told GPonline that his view was that 'we don't want a wedge' between different elements of the profession.

Locum indemnity

He said it would be potentially divisive, and that although he did not want to stifle debate, he did not believe there would be significant support at the LMCs conference for denying locums indemnity support.

'It reflects very serious concern about problems with attracting partners - concern about partners is very real,' he added. 'But I think this is not the right way - the right way is to reduce risk, from indemnity, from property ownership, workload and trying to get more GPs.'

GPC sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris told GPonline: 'The way to improve recruitment and retention of partners is to solve the underfunding and workload problems. It is not to penalise colleagues for working in certain ways.

'Many practices rely on locums at the moment, and actively supporting such a move may well destabilise parts of the health service completely. The reason GPs are not becoming partners is because the partnership model has been underfunded and undermined. It’s important to remember who is to blame for this, and it is not any type of GP.'

Dr Bailey suggested Wales would look with interest at the proposed new contract in Scotland - which could be confirmed this week - and measures it offers to strip the burden of responsibility for premises from GPs.

GP leaders at the conference, which takes place in Chester on 20 January, will also debate calls for the creation of a single national NHS body to oversee primary care in Wales and 'end the needless postcode lottery'.

Workload

GPs will also hit out at health boards diverting GMS funding to hospitals, call for a cap on GP workload, and improved measures to boost GP recruitment and retention.

Dr Bailey said that workforce was the 'number one issue' facing general practice in Wales.'We need to try and address the increase in workload, and that means we need more GPs or other ways of delivering the same service.

'We are hopeful that something useful will come out of ongoing discussions - health boards and the Welsh government are engaged. We have a shared aim to try to protect and promote primary care in Wales.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in