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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)

  • Private GP is not the same as dentistry.
    A major problem is that patients would have to pay for routine prescriptions, sometimes citing hundreds a month. Paying for consultations is a minor issue.

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  • Yes, all GP Partners, please resign.

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  • 1) There is no money
    2) There is a culture of entitlement created by the NHS and fed by political promises
    3) There is disunity in the profession - and, let's be honest, there never will be unity or even a general consensus
    4) There is a concern that the "patients will suffer" (and that GPs will get the blame)
    5) There is no real intention to follow-through with any threats made - and the politicians know this
    6) And if all GPs did actually resign, the Government will get to privatize the NHS - which is what it wants anyway
    Good luck with this

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I have done it: I have resigned. Enjoying the Fall in New England. Good luck chaps.

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  • @ 10.55pm

    The spineless, scruffy cardigans (that don't look like they dress well enough to sign on at their local job centre) have filled their boots off the backs of their predecessors and will not 'rock the boat' to support the next generation. Selfish in the extreme.

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  • You will not know how bad the situation in the UK until you practice else where.
    I moved overseas 2 months ago and I can tell you I am enjoying general practice again.

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  • I hope anonymous registrar 10.55pm sobers up in time for the morning surgery

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  • This could end in 5 minutes if Dr Chaand Nagpaul would look jweremy hunt square in the eyes and say " do you know who i am........Ronnie pickering"!!

    enough said

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  • You might get somewhere if the talks don't get sabotaged by the RCGP and BMA soft talk and proposal to further 'discuss'( read 'lick a**.

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  • General practice has been almost destroyed and we've basically sat back and let it happen. No one in the general population even realises. If we'd done what the junior Drs are doing right now we might have got listened too.
    This is the only way we will get heard. If we resign en mass they will have to listen...it isn't a 'availability of opportunities for private practice' issue ...if we reign en mass that's the whole profession gone in one stroke. The problem we have is the the "yes men" amongst us (e.g. Ivan B) and the sclerotic old timers who are just holding out long enough to retire. The same spineless folk who agreed to QOF and all the other s@£t that has chipped away at the profession by stealth since 2004.
    Resign en mass and take back control ..unless you really don't care.

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