Workload to dominate 'fiery' LMC conference

Workload and changes to the GMS contract look set to dominate the agenda at a 'fiery' UK LMCs conference next month, motions submitted by LMCs suggest.

Dr McKeown: GPs under stress (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr McKeown: GPs under stress (Photo: Pete Hill)

Earlier this year Scottish LMCs called for a 'major funding rise' to help practices address the problem of increasing workload, a message echoed at conferences in Wales and Northern Ireland.

A motion submitted by Dorset LMC warns that 'difficulties practices are having in recruiting good quality GP partners reflect the current excessive workload in general practice and the erosion of financial resources'. GPs' role as NHS gatekeeper is becoming untenable, the motion warns.

Cuts in resources and rising demands on GPs through imposed changes to the GP contract are being compounded by growing patient demand fuelled by successive governments, LMCs will warn.

A motion submitted by Wiltshire LMC calls for a 'coherent strategy' from the government to reduce patient demand.

Wiltshire GP and GPC member Dr Helena McKeown said the stress GPs are under is 'immense'.

'Appraisers like me are all saying the same thing - GPs we are seeing at appraisal are struggling to cope with the workload,' she said. 'Where they can, they are retiring early or stopping being principals to work as locums so that they can reduce their commitments.'

Mid Mersey LMC medical secretary Dr Ivan Camphor said this year's conference promised to be a fiery one. 'People are going to be very angry,' he told GP.

Many GPs were calling the LMC to complain about rising workload and falling income, Dr Camphor said.

The government's 'diabolical' decision to impose GMS contract changes had left many GPs extremely angry, he added. 'There is a lot of anger and upset about the lack of consultation, negotiation and communication from the government.'

Motions submitted by Coventry LMC warn of the 'imminent death of traditional general practice and holistic care', and urge the GPC to negotiate 'regulations to require the last NHS GP to turn the lights off'.

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