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GPs to debate resignation from the NHS en masse

GPs will debate whether the profession should resign from the NHS en masse at the Pulse Live conference tomorrow.

The debate, taking place in Liverpool, will see delegates voting on the question ‘Is it time for all GPs to resign from their NHS contracts?’, and will involve chair of the Family Doctor Association Dr Peter Swinyard and Dr Zoe Norris, media lead for GP Survival.

The panel will be debating whether it is time for GPs to take the major step in response to health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’, in which he pushed for GPs to offer seven-day access.

It also comes as junior doctors are going to be balloted by the BMA on whether to take industrial action in response to the Government imposing a contract that will see Saturday working reclassified as ‘sociable’ hours.

In a preview to the debate, Dr John Cosgrove, a GP in Birmingham, argued that the message about GPs’ workload is not getting through to ministers, as evidenced by the ‘new deal’.

He added: ‘Experience tells us the only effective negotiating tool to bring about real change is a credible threat of mass GP resignation. Holding undated letters of resignation enabled the BMA to negotiate the 2004 GP contract, and the time has now come for a similar move.

‘This has the potential to persuade the Government to resource general practice adequately and to support us in defining our remit and that of the NHS.’

Dr Roger Henderson, a GP in Shropshire who will also be on the panel, says that at first glance, resigning en masse ‘may seem like a no brainer’.

However, he adds that to make primary care work, ‘we have to be inside the NHS tent talking to ministers’.

He says: ‘If we fire our one and only negotiating bullet – the one marked ”Stuff this” – from our elephant gun then, yes, there will be a lot of noise, we will briefly feel better and it will shake up the media and politicians.

‘But once the shock and awe has settled, the NHS will still be there, patients with no one to trust but their GP will still need to be seen, long-term care in the community will not have suddenly disappeared and, perhaps most importantly, we will have a divided profession since the one thing we can all probably agree on is that we’ll never get 100% of GPs signing resignation letters.’

Readers' comments (45)

  • Bring it on! Do a dentist!
    'patients with no one to trust but their GP will still need to be seen, long-term care in the community will not have suddenly disappeared ' - no it won't, and patients will have to pay for this valued resource. If government, charities or the council wish to contribute, that's fine. Don't tie co-payment to more targets or KPIs though as we'll be declining such tainted offers!

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  • How much worse can things get??? There will not be any fresh blood into the profession, the relentless increase in burocracy and the revalidation nightmares... The government are scenting blood and they will get it if they can.

    No GP voices raised in protest=acceptance and the death of gp practices as we know them.

    Hunt is never going to stop just take a look at this article and you will see how he treated, rather maltreated his previous employees before he became an MP.

    Now is the time to raise your voices if you have the chance.

    You will see there is no point in reasoning with him. Resign/strike/protest/limit work etc...? These are all options.

    While we still have the right to protest we should use them before even these rights get removed.

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  • Im one of many who have taken our own 'industrial action'. Resigned from partnership, I am working overseas and enjoying being a doctor for the first time in years. I wont return until Im treated and renumerated like a respected professional as I am here, something all UK politicians and medical leaders have destroyed. As its unlikely to happen, Im unlikely to return. The politicians and public only have themselves to blame. I couldnt give a stuff about either anymore: pay to see me, or dont pay to see me - its your choice. But the free for all buffet is dying and I wont be a part of trying to shore it up.

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  • Limit work citing health and safety ie max 10 patients / session and 20-30 min/ consultation. Also, reasonable admin time to enable us to do a good job without making mistakes due to pressure and mental fatigue. We have been overworked and undervalued for far to long. Time for action my friends.

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  • Drachula

    I honestly don't think it will happen. Too many GPs with heads in sand, or anything for a quiet life.

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  • resign as a GP Principal. Young so still have to pay the mortgage. Need income so work for VirginCircleCare who now have all the contracts. Earn less with rubbish conditions. Sacked if work to rule.

    Well done Privatisation agenda.

    Stay as a GP Principal but push all unfunded work to where it belongs. bankrupt the CCG etc have Government come to negotiating table.

    Well done GPs saviours of the NHS (again)

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  • Whats to debate?!

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  • Yoda says if into the negotiations you go only pain will you find

    What we need and And I can sum it all up in just one word: courage, dedication, daring, pride, pluck, spirit, grit, mettle, and G-U-T-S, *guts*.
    Why, Ted Striker's got more guts in his little finger than most of us have in our large intestine, including the colon! --now wheres Dr Ted Striker ???

    The last thing I suspect all docs will say to each other

    "Doc," he said, "some time when the crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to get out there and give it all they got and win just one for the Zipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Doc," he said, "but I won't smell too good, that's for sure."

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  • at least resignation is being debated - there was a time it would have been heresy.

    the depth of anger now is worse than in 2004 and there is no solution for the government - they are committed to cut back spending and we all now the easiest way to cut costs in any business is to either reduce T&Cs or cut staff. reading through the comments online re: junior doctors is depressing - there is a total lack of support from the public. we are being labelled as arrogant, spoiled, privileged, and lucky to have jobs. the lack of support is embarrassing and it's almost like the public feel they don't need doctors in the NHS. they believe the government that doctors get paid too much , should be at the beck and call 24/7 (as 'that's wot u signed up to do'), and should pay all the training fees back, and 'if they left we would get some from syria ' etc The bottom line is that the public and government are not going to back down - we have to decide on servitude (some will) or an exit.

    The only solution is to split the service provision - those that want to stay with the NHS stay and the rest convert to Ltd private practices and charge the public directly like solicitors, dentists, accountants etc. we need some leadership on achieving this - perhaps the BMA need to work with the IDF

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  • @7.53 pm

    Agree. The Treasury will not add any extra fianance to the NHS. So doctors will either have to put up with the terrible jobs in the NHS (increasingly applies to all NHS jobs, not just GPs and A&E) or resign and go private. The only problem at the moment is that apart from inner London and some inner larger cities there is little demand for private general practice. Until NHS general practice almost completely collapses and patients can not register with NHS GPs it will be difficult to survive as a private GP.

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