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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Should GPs engage in industrial action?

Grant Ingram - NO CAPTION

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Cobblers

    Loads of hedge sitting from 3 GPC people and 1 from the Family Doctors Association.

    Typical GPs they aren't.

    We are in the last chance saloon. We can be active or passive.

    Active measures close lists and ears to the entreaties. Consider your fall back. The Government might call your bluff, what then? A work gap of 2-4 weeks? Handing contract back? Both are an Armageddon scenario. Consider though, it may come to that.

    Other option is passive. Better lube up mate as NHSE will bend you over and you will have to take it until you can’t of course and the result will be as if you had take active measures and had your contract taken away but in this case you would hand it back.

    One way, the active way, you might well have a shred of self-respect as well as being able to walk properly. With that attitude you may come up with an alternative Primary Care system.

    'What about the patients" scream the Cardies. OK what about them? A good doctor looks after themselves first along with their family. The patient comes a long way distant after that. That is non negotiable.

    This is an existential fight for GPs to keep respect, work in a less demanding system and for pay, which reflects the level of professional attainment and the degree of risk management.

    It may get very messy.

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  • Its pretty clear that unless something changes soon the profession will cease to exist - the rise in indemnity, the horrible work conditions make it unsustainable to continue.

    'What about the patients?' - they voted for a conservative government who clearly said austerity was to continue - and didnt support the NHS when it was needed - they certainly dont care about you as an individual doctor, despite professing to care for the organisation. There has to be some collateral damage - if there werent then it would be a fruitless activity.


    Lets go. ballot. vote to shut the doors of GPs to new patients.

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  • The BMA's last chance to regain any meaningful role is to produce a plan that would enable the bulk of GPs to establish viable Practices outside the NHS. Anything less is surrender and irrelevance.

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  • 20 July 2017
    "President Macron of France faced his most serious test yet when the armed forces chief resigned, saying he could not guarantee security with the present defence budget."

    Similarly GPs cannot guarantee safety with the present Health Budget

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  • I have consistently said that if we don't flex our industrial muscles and be prepared to go on strike, general practice will collapse as so many good GPs can't take any more, despair and leave... and then there will be no primary care in the NHS anyway -- permanently. So what's better - a temporary hiatus while we have a rumpus, or a permanent shut-down?

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  • Rogue1

    We don't need a ballot to close out lists.
    If GP numbers are shrinking and more houses are being built, and more complex conditions are being transferred to primary care then the basic numbers don't add up. You cant keep providing a good safe service to all.
    You have to reach a point and say 'enough is enough', I have to close my list on safety grounds my the rest of my pre-existing patients.

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  • Rogue1

    Yes Cobblers, 4 political hedge sitters.
    If half the practices closed lists then the other half would have to take all the new patients. I'm sure they wont like that and will close their lists too

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