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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)

  • Makes me proud of the GPs back home --- way to go guys!

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  • Well done our Northern Irish colleagues.

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  • Well done Northern Ireland time for us to do the same

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  • Go go go NI
    It doesn't matter who the patients 'blame'
    They will value you a lot more when they start paying rather than all you can eat buffet they currently enjoy

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  • Agree Sam Izdat. NI GPs are walking into a 30 year laid trap to destroy the NHS. General practice is the cornerstone of hte NHS, which until 2010 was the best health care system in the world. Since 2010 there has been underfunding, cuts to funding, cuts to beds, community services, drastic cuts to mental health. Also cuts to general practice. This is the problem, not hte NHS. We all need more money adn to stop wasting billions of pounds every year on the internal and external markets and management consultants.

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  • It is sad that things are so bad in NI that the GPs have been forced into this but they have my wholehearted support and good wishes for the future!

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  • To those of you saying this is all part of the privatisation plan, you may well be right, but by staying in the system that is brutalising all of us what brilliant outcome are you expecting exactly?

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  • privatisation trap ? try Manchester's devolution take over of primary care by local government and local trusts --- is that going to save us all ???

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  • Facts, not opinions perhaps is best.
    A clear 50% funding cut to GPS in NI from 11 to 5.5 % of NHS funding. { at the same time as spending millions on pellet boilers for broilers!!].
    An increase in workload of 60%, all in 10 years.
    Folding practices in Enniskillen, Portadown, Glenarm.
    They are treating us like patsies and there are those that suggest that walking away from our Independent Contracts is a trap.
    Obviously, such folks would work for nothing, by the same principle.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP. From Pulsetoday to the houses of 2 million C5 news viewers. I made sure this breaking NI GP news would not be buried. The public need to know how hard GPs are working with a fraction of the funds they had before MPIG cuts. It is only a matter of time before they fight back and regain their self respect. And it is not just general practice, a junior doctor has been made to work 22 days in a row without a day off! How long before hospital doctors crack too?

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