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GPs go forth

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)

  • Thank you GPC NI for heralding a new dawn for Primary Care.

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  • Courage shown by excellent leaders. Well done NI GPC.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Congratulations N Ireland GPC! Having Ireland as your neighbour showed you how both patients and GPs can benefit outside of the NHS in a free market and not under a monopoly employer. Now come on England and grow some balls! You know the senior GPs may be trying to keep you as slave workers to top up their million pound gold plated NHS pensions with its 10 year protected status from 2012. Don't accept concessions, slave labour, is slave labour. Emancipation will end burnout in our profession.

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  • If successful all UK GPs shuold adopt this policy , now we know what value J.Hunt and T.May place on GPs - it is the only way we can get our professional respect & self respect back. You have my full support NI GPs.

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  • At last someone has had the courage to do what needs to be done.

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  • Good luck to the Northern Ireland GPs. I hope that your leap of faith will show us all the way forward. As far as I am concerned this news gives me more hope than any announcement from Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt or NHSE.

    To the English GPC (Dr Nagpaul et al): you are rapidly running out of wriggle room. The GPC will eventually have to step aside (or be moved aside) if it cannot protect the GPs that it says it represents.

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  • Bring it on in England!

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  • NI GPC, well done. I'll get the wheelbarrow and walk with you!

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  • The government would love you to resign . It is their dream scenario. The plan is being Beta tested in Northern Ireland and we will be next. The public in Stoke have been asked about the NHS in the run up to the by - election . At present they do not blame the government . We will carry the can if we resign . Do not fall into this carefully prepared trap. Pensions will be the least of your problems and it will take 2 years minimum to sort out. 1 month OOH ban would be far more effective than resigning .

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