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LMCs consider radical motions calling for industrial action at GP crisis summit

Exclusive LMCs are considering motions calling on GPs to take industrial action unless the Government implements emergency measures to ensure general practice remains sustainable, Pulse has learned.

The motions include banning home visits and signing undated resignation letters as tools to make ministers stand up and take notice.

GPC leaders have told Pulse of a number of motions they have submitted to their LMC for inclusion in the agenda at the special LMCs crisis summit in London next month.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that the special conference was called by GPC at its most recent meeting, in response to the ‘crisis in general practice’ that has been expressed by LMCs.

It is taking place on 30 January, and it is the first special conference to take place since 2003, which helped pave the way for the current contract.

It comes amid contract negotiations that have seen GPC calling for an end to the ‘annual tinkering’ of the contract, and the Government looking to implement a seven-day access DES.

GPC member and former negotiator Dr Peter Holden told Pulse that he was intending to submit motions through Derbyshire LMC, and said that the conference ‘has to have a debate on industrial action, and undated resignations - this is real gloves-off stuff’.

He said: ’We will be putting a motion in to say industrial action is still on the cards – but there has to be a reason to use it.

’It is also likely we’ll be putting a motion on unsigned mass resignation letters.

’This is the nuclear option. We have to give the Government a time-limited opportunity. When it refuses to engage in sensible discussions and refuses to implement emergency measures that are needed, then we can consider industrial action.’

Dr Holden said that the Government had ‘studiously avoided’ meaningful negotiations with the GPC for the past seven years.

He called on GPs to support actions taken by the GPC and LMCs, adding: ‘The profession has to realise GPC and LMCs cannot do it all by themselves. We need the profession to stand with us, unlike what happened in 2013 with the industrial action over pensions.’

Dr Helena McKeown, vice-chair of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire LMC, said she had submitted a motion that ‘contentiously suggested we can’t any longer afford the inefficiency of home visits’.

Pulse recently revealed that almost half of GPs are in favour of mass resignation in protest at the state of general practice.

But Dr Brian Balmer, a member of the GPC executive team and chief executive of North and South Essex LMCs, told Pulse that they would not be submitting motions on industrial action because their aim is ‘to ignore NHS England and start to solve the problem for ourselves’.

Instead, GPs in Essex will call on the GPC to lead a nationwide campaign to ensure that the workload of practices is ‘limited to a level which is considered to be safe for both patients and practitioners’, with CCGs commissioning any extra services.

Dr Tom Black, chair of the Northern Ireland GPC, told Pulse to expect ‘big themes’ to come out of the special LMCs conference. He said: ‘I think there’s a real need for a special conference and needless to say I read Pulse’s survey results with interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if the motions were about big themes – there’s no point in having a special conference about routine matters.’


Readers' comments (35)

  • Its been a long time coming but if GPC do vote on industrial action, we maybe able to save General Practice and primary care. (although some would say it is already too late-however GPC cannot act until GP`s vote fairly unanimously like Junior doctors- 98%)
    Those of you GP`s with buildings who are worried about the same and choose not to vote for undated resignations kindly reconsider. Once others have collapsed you will collapse in not time due to the changing landscape.
    lets all give GPC 100% support on this and then the government will come to negotiating table.
    Same for federations, playing the hunger games (PMCF challenge) for a slice of the victory parade (Small additional funding, gongs)are over - its real war now.
    We just need our Mockingbird to rally the call!

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  • Don't hold your breath folk!
    Half of them are either sitting on the CCG executive carrying out government diktats, or are taking care of their private companies.
    The last thing LMCs are going to do is rock the boat. Much easier to carry on rubber-stamping.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    in response to Anon 10.00 - I am a building-owning GP and would certainly put in an undated resignation if asked to by GPC. After all, if we all go private, we still have to have somewhere to see our patients - and government would have to reimburse patients for our costs or declare that there was no NHS for primary care. They could not reprovision it in any other way. This would be political suicide and lock whichever party did this out of government for a generation as "The party that killed NHS General Practice"

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  • Interesting. I suspect the answer in the end will be a range of measures to ramp up to industrial action and take the issues to them. Mass-refusal of unpaid work, non-compliance and civil disobedience leading on to harsher and stronger measures until they listen.

    Learning from our Junior Doc colleagues will be key here. If we can wake the sleeping giant of general practice we will have a very strong strong voice, but only if we work together, and manage the message very carefully.

    GPC will need to be mindful of the publication of GP pay in April too. I expect that to be hyped up by the DH as they fight back.

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  • It can't be right when I ( and partners ) feel physically sick at the prospects of going into work . I've had enough of firefighting on a daily basis and am getting out. Can't cope with the a anhedonia the job brings.I hope that GPs will use this opportunity . I know my practice is not unique in the sentiments stated .

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  • Peter Swinyard

    I see the publication of our pay as a strength - for the first year it is collective in a practice - my worry is that recruitment will suffer when young doctors see how low many partners' net NHS incomes are.
    I can see the Daily Mail headline now. "Fatcat Consultants earn 50% more than hardworking specialists in General Practice" No? Thought not.

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  • If the GPs cannot even support the efforts to stop doctors being killed. Which is "kind of" a more serious matter than whether you work in a hospital, clinic or GP surgery.
    How on earth can one expect any collective action from such a group?
    Since GPs stopped working / doing procedures, all they seems to be able to do is TALK.

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  • There is Prof Field who does not understand the simple arithmetic of percentages [ a whole profession is 5% to him], there is GMC waiting like a spider.
    There is NHCE, CCG, re-validation,appraisal, falling pay, seniority,pensions and landless criticism.
    If you can, get out, otherwise the bogeyman will get you sooner or later.
    Why do you think everyone is leaving?

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  • We have been through this all before. You cannot take industrial action when you are a contractor. All you can do is resign.

    The contracts are rubbish anyway and those stuck in GMS cannot even move to the less unfavourable PMS contract. This is in spite of the fact that some of these GPs were still in school when some long retired GP made the historic contract decision.

    Lets all actually sign the resignation letters instead of making empty threats.

    Ditch the contract comrades.

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  • General practice is dead. Long live general practice.

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