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GPs go forth

'Several LMCs' to call for mass resignation and industrial action

Exclusive ‘Several’ LMCs will call for mass resignation and industrial action at the special LMC conference next month, Pulse has learnt.

Shropshire LMC – which led the calls for a special conference to discuss the sustainability of general practice – has submitted a motion calling for industrial action, and has said there are ‘several’ LMCs who are doing the same.

Pulse has already reported that former GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden is submitting a motion on industrial action and undated resignation letters through Derbyshire LMC.

But the motion from Shropshire LMCs suggests that there will be a groundswell of support for such measures at the conference on 30 January, if the conference agenda committee puts it in the agenda.

It comes as a Pulse survey this month revealed that half of GPs would be in favour of mass resignation from the GP contract in protest at the state of general practice.

The Shropshire LMC motion says that general practice is in crisis and that it is ‘shameful’ that the policies of successive governments have led to this situation.

The motion ‘requests the GPC to canvass the willingness of GPs to submit their undated resignations if a speedy and appropriate response is not forthcoming.’

It also says ‘the use of sanctions should now be considered and requests that the GPC explores the realistic options for industrial action’.

Shropshire LMC medical secretary Dr Ian Rummens told Pulse: ‘Shropshire LMC initiated the call for a special conference.’

He added: ‘[The motion] is supported by several other LMCs. Inability to recruit means that practices are failing across the country, which in turn risks de-stabilising neighbouring practices and the prospect of meltdown in the very near future.

‘We believe that, unless GPs are prepared to take action, the Government will do nothing until it is too late.’

However, former GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said that industrial action and mass resignation wasn’t the right method to achieve change.

He said: ‘Taking industrial action is not the way to persuade the Government to do what you want to do, which is take the pressure off general practice.

‘The Government and its policies have piled on the pressure and it is important to point that out to the general public, and that is the point of this conference.

‘It is to explain how dangerously near the cliff edge general practice is in this country.’

Motion in full

That Conference:

1) Believes the NHS in general, and General Practice in particular, is in crisis.

2) Views as shameful the failure of successive Governments to recognise and address the issues that have led to this position.

3) Demands the Government urgently implements measures to relieve the intolerable pressures on General Practice.

4) Requests the GPC to canvass the willingness of GPs to submit their undated resignations if a speedy and appropriate response is not forthcoming.

5) Believes the use of sanctions should now be considered and requests that the GPC explores the realistic options for industrial action.

Readers' comments (43)

  • This is exactly Mr Hunt wants us to do " Leave NHS " so that he can blame it on GP and save his& his party's face and be in power for next term. Everybody including so called stupid politicians who actually are very cunning and smart knows that this NHS is not salvageable. But nobody wants to commit political suicide and wants to make sure that they have jobs to go to. So this is what they will do, make our lives miserable till we cant take any more and then they can say GP/doctors have deserted NHS and politicians did everything possible to save it. I hope sooner we all come to terms with the idea that its not our job to save NHS . Our job is to treat patients and we are very good at that. Its not our job to see that how its funded. As long its funded appropriately & we get paid appropriately for jobs we do then it does not matter. We also have to realise that paitents will not take responsibility unless they are contributing DIRECTLY . Patient behavior will change only when they realise how much everything cost. LETS GET UNITED AND SHOW THIS GOVERNMENT THAT WE WILL NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE AND ARE READY TO HAND OUR MASS RESIGNATION

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  • As the current delivery model for primary care is clearly unsustainable why not try developing and presenting a solution? Surely that's got to be more productive than simply rejecting everything the government does?

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  • Una Coales

    @David undated mass resignation letters worked in 1966. It got the government's attention. The public would not dare sit by and watch all their country's GPs resign. No bluff needed to be called.

    Look at the media and public interest when 98% of junior doctors voted for strike action over an unfair and unsafe unilateral NHS contract. They would have succeeded in changing the contract had the BMA not backed out in the 11th hour IMO. The momentum and impact of a strike has been lost.

    A majority ballot for undated mass resignation would attract media attention and GPs would definitely have the sympathy of their patients. The government would have been forced to lessen the leash on the contract.

    Meanwhile Plan B is happening already. GPs are quitting one by one, handing back their contracts, emigrating, retiring early, but that would leave no GPs left to man NHS GP surgeries and Generation Y GPs have figured out that working as a salaried GP for a private company may not repay the student loans or cover a mortgage. This is the worst scenario for patients also...no GPs, no general practice.

    Remember the dead cannot speak, but we surviving GPs can. Let's get our GPs a fair, safe contract with the only leverage the government will listen to... A sod this contract and bring a fair one to the table or we all withdraw from this bankrupting, unilateral 7/7 slave contract. It's now or never as GPs are on the brink.

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  • A bit of history for y'all - my father, a GP, was intimately involved in the last major dispute between GPs and the government back in the 1960s - intimately, because the then Minister of Health, Kenneth Robinson, was our local MP and came to meetings at our flat to hear about the problems from the grass roots. Result of the threat of mass resignation? Capitulation by the government. I see no reason why it won't work again, and things are infinitely worse now than they were then. Government makes nasty threats to, and tries moral blackmail on doctors, and what's sauce for the goose...

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Realistically, individual resignations no use at all. Just another departed doctor.
    Practically, if all doctors in a defined area resigned their NHS contracts, would cause big headache for Mr Hunt who is legally obliged to ensure a GP service available for everyone.

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  • Dear Anonymous NHS Manager at 11.01 am . GPs have tried on number of occasions to tell NHS England and Politician what is needed to fix this NHS, but they have not listened and will not. because its not what they want to hear. How many times you want us GP to suggest /provide solutions when other party is not ready to listen? There is no point in shifting money from one pot to other pot.

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  • How bad was it in the 1960's before GPs sent in their undated resignations?
    Does anybody remember?

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  • It is plain and simple.
    We GPs see 90% NHS consults on 7% of funds. We used to get 11%.
    So we are getting less and less.
    We used to get 80 pounds profit [ out of gross 132 pounds per patient for 4 consults in 2004 [20/Consult, disregarding paperwork].
    We get 60 pounds [ out of gross 122] for 6 consults [ 10/ consult in 2015].
    That is a 50% fall.
    That single fact [ never mind pensions, CQc, GMC, re-validation ]is just simply unacceptable. Unacceptable.
    If we wish to continue to work more and more for less and less, we would be foolish, stupid and dumb and the Govt would let us continue to do so because if they could get us dumbbells to work for free, they would be laughing.
    We have to resign, there is absolutely no choice, because market forces will kill GPs anyway otherwise. Soon there will be no GPs left.
    Resign and negotiate a NEW way of providing primary care.
    I just cannot believe we are so foolish that we provide 90% on 7% and we still have to try harder and make savings.
    Time to stuff Mr Hunt and the DOH. We can do as well outside.
    I point you to the Dentists.

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  • 1) Believes General Practice in crisis YES

    2) Views as shameful the failure of successive Governments YES

    3) Demands the Government urgently reduce the pressures. YES

    4) GPs to submit their undated resignations YES

    5) Believes the use of sanctions should now be considered YES

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  • I fear that Steve Field, Laurence Buckman, et al are correct.

    In my view, we ceased to be a profession when we got into horse trading over hours of work and conditions of service. Had GPs truly been self employed independent practitioners they need not and should not have indulged in that strategy.

    The deal with Patricia Hewitt over night and weekend cover was a body blow to patient care and continuity of care - and took advantage of politicians who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. QOF was a direct step into legalized prostitution - dangling gold in front of all doctors in an effort to get everyone to do what the good doctors were doing all along.

    Threats of industrial action only serve to underscore the fall from professional grace.

    I resigned from the BMA when they threatened industrial action over pension issues - whilst doctors pensions are a multiple of the national average wage. I resigned from the RCGP when they planned telling the public that, for a few dollars more they could deliver real quality. The public already thought they were paying for, and getting real quality!

    In neither case did either of these organisations ask, or take any interest why a Fellow and member for 40 years should want to leave.

    Since then I have note that every public pronouncement by the RCGP Chair contains a plea in the first paragraph for more money.

    The quality of what we do, and the effectiveness of our teams are not a self confessed phenomenon. Self audit is no audit. Self praise is no praise.

    The need for a reality check is overdue, and perhaps Steve Field is the man to deliver it.

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