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LMCs to hold emergency debate on Hunt's out-of-hours proposals

GP leaders are set to debate the Government’s plans for general practice to take back out-of-hours responsibility this afternoon - and may also hold a vote of no confidence in health secretary Jeremy Hunt in an emergency session at the LMCs conference.

Although the full list of motions to be discussed has yet to be published, the forty-minute debate has been scheduled for GPs to discuss the contents of Mr Hunt’s speech at the King’s Fund yesterday afternoon, in which he suggested the GP contract would be changed to return round-the-clock responsbility for patients to general practice.

Dr David Wrigley, from Lancashire LMC, told Pulse a number of LMCs were submitting emergency motions in response to Mr Hunt’s speech - and said he wanted the conference to declare that GPs have lost confidence in the health secretary.

He said: ‘I am submitting a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt because he has basically lost the confidence of the profession because of all of his pronouncements. He seems to have no idea what GPs actually do. This includes his other ministers; Dr Dan Poulter said that GPs don’t work out of hours. The whole ministerial department seems just absolutely clueless.’

’Plainly GPs work out of hours. The whole NHS 111 debacle has brought things to a head, I think. It was forced through by politicians and they are trying to say now “it was none of our fault, and it was a minor difficulty” when it was an utter disaster. They need to take account for their actions.’

Speaking at a King’s Fund conference yesterday, Mr Hunt said he wants the GP contract to change to make GPs individually repsonsible for their patients 24/7. He said that GPs will not ‘personally’ have to be on call at all times but that they should have ‘sign-off’ to say they are happy with their patients’ care out of hours.

Dr Wrigley commented: ‘It sounds like he is making it up as he goes along, doesn’t it? CCGs now are responsible for out of hours and CCGs are at the forefront of CCGs so you could argue that is already happening now. The GPs on CCGs are signing off the out-of-hours contracts.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • Just say NO !

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  • I think there is just too much BS now from the politicians.
    GPs now are working damn hard -more so than before 2004-- the old style GP of the 1980s cannot exist in this high work intensive environment we are expected to take work out of hospital, manage chronic illness in the community, and see loads of patients with self limiting acute illnesses 24/7 who have been trained to have rights but no responsibilities-- and its the politicians who pander for there votes at fault
    We need sanity back and
    Its about time we said too hoots to the government and threaten to go private if 24/7 old style contract is imposed-this worked in the 1990s
    whoever wants to accept 24/7 contract --good luck to them- see you in coronary care

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  • Quite agree with the above.

    But we are on the loosing war - whilst our leaders ponder and debate about it, DoH is rolling ahead with it's imposition.

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  • Instead of threatening to go private or go on strike, why don't you just do it

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  • "He seems to have no idea what GPs actually do."

    Lets be honest here, he doesn't seem to have any idea about any part of the NHS.

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  • Unless I've read it wrong, LMC has just accepted GPs being responsible for OOH with few conditions attached.

    Here comes the roll over brigade.......

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  • I think we should be quite clear that there is no point in talking about mass resignation as a means on getting the Government back to proper talks. That is effectively a strike carrying with it all the legal and ethical problems around patient care.

    I think it's worth talking about mass resignation if we as a profession actually debate the possibilities and practicalities of working in a completely new way. We need to be prepared to actually go through with it rather than use it as a threat.

    Personally, I see resignation and the formation of a completely new way of working as the only way to practice medicine in a whole-person, patient-centered manner. I don't think we should flog ourselves to death ticking boxes for ever diminishing returns and constant abuse.

    There are practicalities around a new system such as who is deemed ineligible to pay, whether to fund an activity-based service or block contract, how much should be charged, who pays prescription charges etc.

    These issues could be sorted out with some thought and would probably create a better system than we have now.

    Perhaps GPs in locum chambers really are the partnerships of the future?

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  • It isn’t out fault, or the patients’ fault, but, ahem, the country is in the s**t.
    There isn’t enough money to keep the NHS going as it is, let alone meet up to the ongoing demands caused by longevity, medical advances and an increasingly deprived and needy population.
    The government knows that there is no solution; that ultimately the poor, chronically ill, infirm and elderly will suffer and die through lack of healthcare. But they don’t want this to be seen as their fault. They would much rather it looked like it was the fault of GPs. So they will lumber us with responsibilities that are impossible to fulfill. In fact it’s already happening - Jeremy Hunt wants the ‘buck to stop’ with us. He says he wants patients to have better access to appointments, and yet he knows that we don’t sit twiddling our thumbs all day! How can GPs create more appointments without increased funding? By working longer for less pay, that’s how. That’s not even considering the horrors of taking on out-of-hours responsibility.
    General Practice has become a poisoned chalice - responsibility without resources, risk without protection, work without reward, and stress without respite.
    Eventually, of course, all but the most dutiful (mad?) among us will resign, and he will be able to claim that GPs have caused the system to collapse.

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