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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)

  • I really hope this is successful and then taken up in the rest of the uk.

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  • Dear Curious it has been a long term goal of the right to dismantle social institutions such as the NHS ,public education and the like . The " overton window " of what is politically possible has until recently not shifted far enough to make it possible but now people are thinking that it would acceptable to do away with these public services. Even as we were much poorer as a country we did not charge university fees as we do now. The beauty of a GP mass resignation for the right is that it gives a politically cost free opportunity to do it. The solution is for representatives of public institutions to become politically active. If people vote against maintaining their social services then they can have what they choose .

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  • oh but they have voted against social services - they voted in a tory government.

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  • 3 possible outcomes, 1 worse and 2 better than the status quo, all with major implications for England:
    1. Not enough GP resignations are collected. GPC backs down. General practice even weaker as a result, eventually collapses piecemeal and is replaced by a much inferior but cheaper service.
    2. NI Government recognises the level of threat and produces much improved terms and conditions. GPs accept gracefully, and back away from action. English government furious that threatened action has produced results. English GPC starts trying to remember where it left its backbone, and wondering whether to do the same. If it doesn't, individual LMCs start producing plans.
    3. NI Government doesn't produce better terms and conditions. GPs walk. 6 months of chaos as the details and laws are sorted out. Some practices fold, most continue. Government pays for poorest and most vulnerable 40% (who continue to see GP 7 times per year), everyone else pays (and attend GP twice a year). Financial resources flowing into general practice increase 40%, workload drops 40% - improving working conditions enormously. GPs grapple with consequences (positive and negative)of providing a (partly) consumer-driven service.
    The first sign of the NHS properly unravelling - why aren't the papers all over this?

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  • And your solution Sam?

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  • To save the NHS - if you think it is worth saving is to stand for election and carry the public with you .

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  • A single MP will not make any difference - it is a protest.

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  • BBC choosing to not run this story, it is not newsworthy because it is such a hot item, better to cover safer government spin outpourings

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  • Sam I doubt we're going to get the votes to get in..... unless you can get the RCGP to get a GP standing in EVERY constituency, which might be an idea, but even then we would just be raising the issue rather than realistically expecting the masses to vote for us..... the public are already against us thanks to the spin.... I really think that until they see what its like without us, they won't lift a finger to help us.....i do believe that letting the system collapse is the only way forward, its not fair to let young people with bright futures entered this doomed career as it is.... has anyone heard the vote result? I thought it would have been out by now?

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  • Council of Despair

    i'm really surprised that apart from a small mention in the bbc this story has been completely ignored.

    to put things in perspective the action that the GPC has been forced to take will lead to the end of the NHS in Northern Ireland. I would have thought that it would interest the public in the rest of the UK as if (as i'm sure they will) the NI GPs make a success out of leaving the NHS then it will set a precedent for the rest of the UK. This, to me, is a bigger story than Trumps wall?

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