Should GPs engage in industrial action?
GPs react as English practices are balloted on whether they would be willing to take industrial action by collectively closing their patient lists.
Grant Ingram - NO CAPTION
The problem is, almost any action we take will hit patients. This will upset a lot of patients, they may have treatment delayed. So I have some concerns about that.
But at the same time in the bigger picture, the way we’re working at the moment is unsafe. So the ethical question is, is it better to risk a few patients being put at harm, against us knowingly putting most of our patients at harm.
They tell us that you shouldn’t see more than 25 patients a day. I see more than that every morning, so by the end of the day normally I have had about 50 patient contacts. And I think that’s normal for general practice now and it’s not sustainable. I’m sure there will be more and more mistakes.
So really, I think any practice being honest with themselves should be closing their lists anyway, or informally closing and opening it every now and again to keep numbers the same.
We shouldn’t shut up shop completely, we should be saying we’ve reached capacity.
Dr Grant Ingrams, a GP in Leicester and former member of the BMA’s GP Committee
zoe norris jc00722
The LMC conference gave a clear message to the government - that enough is enough, and they mandated GPC to establish the willingness of practices to collectively close their practice lists.
This needed to be done, and acted on quickly. The government needs to know how serious the profession is.
We are at the very edge and this list closure is an action that will cause chaos for the government, doing untold harm to its empty rhetoric on the NHS , but crucially have no direct impact on patient care.
I hope the profession will see this as an opportunity to show their support for GPC, and to show they are serious about the fight for the survival of general practice before time runs out.
Dr Zoe Norris, chair of the GPC’s sessional subcommittee (speaking in a personal capacity)
Rising Star Dr Eggitt
I think we all recognise the GPFV has failed to have any meaningful impact upon the delivery of frontline services and GPC has had enough of empty promises of a brighter future.
Personally, I think this is a lose-lose situation and asked GPC to consider asking this question amongst other questions to lessen the damage inflicted by asking it.
GPC decided to follow the LMC conference motion to the letter and here we are.
In my opinion, if we close lists it is the end of free at the point of need healthcare for all, and hence the end of the NHS. If we don’t close lists then we run the risk of looking impotent.
Dr Dean Eggitt, medical secretary of Doncaster LMC and member of the GPC
Dr Peter Swinyard - Online
Source: C Milligan
I don’t think the leadership of GPC were at all pleased with that vote at LMCs conference, it ties their hands quite wickedly and they’re going to have great difficulty with it.
I certainly wouldn’t like to be in their shoes at the moment, it really is the devil and the deep blue.
Even though it stops short of undated resignations, I think this still might be hard to get past as well. We’re a soft-old lot at heart, we all have at-least a bit of cardigan in us.
I will be fascinated to see the result, it would certainly strengthen GPC’s hand in negotiation if there were a strong ballot in favour of doing something along those lines. They’re taking the temperature aren’t they.
But if everyone says ’heavens no old chaps’ then they know they haven’t got as strong a negotiating position with NHS England. They can’t say ’everyone will quit or close shop if you don’t behave yourself’.
Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association