‘Fundholding really divided general practice…it was an important argument to have and to win’
Read the full interview with Dr Kambiz Boomla, chair of City and East London LMC
Dr Kambiz Boomla, chair of City and East London LMC
What have been your most memorable achievements for GPs?
When there was truly growth within the NHS, in Tower Hamlets, we were very good at negotiating with the PCT a substantial contract for enhanced services. We raised childhood immunisations to 95% which is staggering really. Patients have been winners, practices have enjoyed the challenges of the work and have been rewarded for that. On the slightly more negative side, although we lost out in the [APMS] contract for St Paul's Way to Atos, because we made a fuss, when Atos did walk way, the PCT has since been very resistant to anything other than local procurement. So when you lose a battle, as long as you fought it and put down a marker in the sand, you can show this was a mistake.
What are your biggest challenges at the moment?
The challenges at the moment are the same as for everyone, the Health and Social Care Bill and pensions. We've played our part in the debate, we took action [on pensions] and we are calling for the bill to be withdrawn.
Are LMCs being involved enough in the NHS reforms?
At a local level, local mangers have been listening The LMC took a strong role in East London in making sure the process was a proper one, and that all GPs were involved . But nationally, LMCs were not consulted, as nobody was.
Best LMCs conference moment?
I look back with fondness to our debates over fundholding and winning the argument that it wasn't a good thing. It really divided general practice, which was reflected in the full and frank exchange of views. It was an important argument to have and to win. We debate things fairly and openly.
What do you think the future holds for LMCs?
Once the dust settles [with the NHS reforms] the day job is still provision. Everyone seems to value LMCs, and their future has been guaranteed in the bill. I think one thing that is good is that they represent all GPs, particularly with the changes with more being salaried. Certainly in London, we've putting an enormous amount of effort into changing the focus. This will become doubly important if we see increased commercialisation and in the future amore salaried service.