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Independents' Day

GPC under fire for 'toothless' action

The GPC has come under fire from some grassroots GPs after it backed away from a formal protest over the zero per cent pay award, writes Steve Nowottny.

GPC guidance published last week suggested a range of measures GPs could take to balance their books, including reviewing involvement in enhanced services and practice-based commissioning.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the guidance was not meant as a protest because that could be construed as industrial action.

'At the moment we do not

believe there is an appetite for formal industrial action,' he said. 'The reasons the practices have for following this guidance will vary. Some may consider this a protest.'

But many GPs have criticised the GPC for not calling for an

explicit boycott of unpopular policies such as Choose and Book.

Dr Eric Wilkinson, a GP in Southbourne, West Sussex, said: 'It is a watered-down

statement of what any sensible GP practice would be doing

anyway. It really smacks of

the toothlessness that the

current BMA all too frequently displays.'

Dr Alan Keith, a GP in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, said: 'As far as I am concerned the GPC represents the Government to the profession and not the profession to the Government.'

However, most LMC representatives believed that the

GPC had been pragmatic and sensible, ahead of a summit meeting on pay next week.

Dr Rob Barnett, secretary

of Liverpool LMC, said 'I don't generally think there is a

feeling there should be industrial action. Certainly judging by the mood in my LMC it's been more that practices should be looking at things

that are not necessarily cost-


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