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GPC to submit mass resignations once 60% of practices opt in

The GPC in Northern Ireland will start collecting resignations from GP practices next week following a historic vote earlier today.

Speaking with Pulse after the meeting GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black said once they had reached a critical mass of 60% of practice resignations ‘we will step outside the NHS’.

The move, which will see GPs leave the NHS and potentially charging around £45 for appointments, was supported by 97% of BMA members who attended a series of meetings at the end of 2016.

He said the vote by GPC members had been unanimous but there was a lot of anger that ‘GPs were being forced out of the NHS’.

Practices would essentially be giving notice so there would be a six-month period where the GPC would develop the ‘Plan B’ in full to decide details on charging for appointments and around staff, pensions and indemnity.

There are currently 343 GP practices in Northern Ireland and all partners in the practice must agree before submitting undated resignations, because the practice and not individual GPs hold the contracts. 

The GPC has called for an urgent meeting with the health minister to discuss the issue.

This is one of the most radical measures ever proposed by GP leaders in the UK, in response to the ‘collapse’ of general practice in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland GPC chair Tom Black said.

‘The Department of Health and the Government have failed the health service,’ Dr Black said.

NIGPC chair Dr Tom Black said the decision to proceed with undated resignations was taken ’with deep regret’.

’General practice is on the brink in Northern Ireland and we feel we have no alternative to proceed with collecting undated resignations from our members,’ said Dr Black.

’Continued inaction to save general practice has forced us into this situation. The work of the Northern Ireland government may have stalled, but the need to provide safe and efficient healthcare to patients has not stalled. General practice is being delivered under unsustainable conditions that we can no longer tolerate.’

 A statement from the NI GPC said it was calling for:

  • Investment of 10% of the Northern Ireland healthcare budget on a safe, sustainable GP service for patients;
  • Training and recruitment of more GPs so practices at risk of closure can stay open and meet the needs of patients
  • Reducing bureaucracy and improve IT systems so more time can be spent providing care to patients.


Readers' comments (53)

  • Council of Despair

    Good luck NI GPs !

    Think you are doing the right thing as agree there is no alternative - this is the only option to ensure that there is a General Practice service.

    some believe it is a trap but as has been rightly pointed out - there is no choice as with current funding practices will collapse so there is either going to be no service at all or Plan B. The public will not blame GPs - they will blame the politicians who forced GPs down this route.

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  • In a demonstration of collective will boycott all OOH work for 1 month. It will show politicians that we do work at weekends and that without this input all is chaos. It is not simply a question of charging patients for our services ( inexpensive as they are ) but will mean high medication charges and admission rates for hospitals . Theresa Mays remarks are meant to goad us into an ill thought out response to a carefully created strategy. Starving public services of resources is a classic way of undermining them ,then selling them off. I am sure we can shrug off the blame but can the patients so easily shrug the drug costs ?

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  • @ Una: You sure have instincts. It's 24 hours since this historic vote and there is complete silence this morning in the media including BBC & ITV. The media seem to have a trigger on their bottoms preventing them from broadcasting this bit of news that may have a revolutionary negative impact on the lives of millions in this country.
    Presstitutes forever.

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  • 'In a demonstration of collective will boycott all OOH work for 1 month.'
    OOH work is not equally distributed between working GPs. Some specialise in doing a high proportion of OOH work, others do none given the full 'in hours' workloads. Why call for a small proportion of the workforce to take all the financial pain to help those in day time practices?

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  • Well done GPC NI! No more consultations from uncurable heartsinks, no more social consultations, no more NHS political drives, policies, unfair funding and problematic contracts etc.You will finally get your life back!

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  • NO to heartsink comments. Even those owning premises will survive though intitially you've got to brace for an incubation period where you have to be able to digest the loss of rent and develop a client base.
    GPs with good skills and reputation of being caring and thorough will survive anything. Most of us have those skills. If we have survived a brutal onslaught by Cameron, Hunt and NHSE stooges for years, we'll survive anything. Confidence, colleagues, the time for reckoning for English GPs is nigh. Let's get together and go for it!

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  • Finally someone is actually doing something - well done NI, I hope you encourage more examples of deeds and not words.

    For those who think that this is playing into the hands of Hunt, just look back over the last year or two - do you really think anyone is ever coming to the rescue of general practice? We can stand together on this or we can quietly carry on giving up one by one.

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  • Charge of the light Brigade .

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  • The dentists got dumped on and walked....

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  • Spuds

    Sam Izdat - OOH ban would make no difference. Mostly done by salaried/sessionals or by nurses etc. Most GP principles don't do it. You're hardly going to get sessionals falling on their swords to save the Partners!

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