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LMCs tentatively back PM’s new voluntary GP contract

Local GP leaders have given tentative support to the Government’s plans to introduce a new contract for larger practices, which would see them ditching the QOF.

The GPC has criticised the new voluntary contract, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on the eve of the Conservative party conference, calling it ‘a distraction’.

However, local leaders said they are interested in seeing the opportunities possibly provided by the new contract, with some even revealing local discussions about signing up to the deal when there is ‘meat on the bone’.

There have been few details about the contract, but Mr Cameron said that practices signing up to it will no longer be subject to ‘box ticking and form filling’.

The DH has confirmed that payments will no longer be linked to the QOF for practices, although the health secretary has said that they are likely to still need to record QOF indicators.

In return, practices will be expected to grow through merging or federating to a list of at least 30,000 and provide routine weekend and evening access.

Dr Mohammed Jiva, CEO of Rochdale and Bury LMC, said: ‘[It was] discussed earlier this week with my LMC who are supportive of exploring the opportunities this might bring from a voluntary contract.

‘We are in discussion with other LMCs across Greater Manchester to work in collaboration to explore what a voluntary contract could look like and gaining support from GPC to engage in the process.’

Dr Jiva added: ‘Until there is “meat on bone” there is little reason to close the door without exploring the offer.’

Dr Uzma Ahmed, assistant medical secretary of Walsall LMC and a member of the GPC education and training subcommittee, said such a contract could be beneficial, as long as smaller practices are given time and support to federate.

She said: ‘I feel personally that this is one of the ways forward for general practice. However, it is not possible until it is properly resourced and the workforce issues are addressed.

‘If all these things are addressed, then this is something that can be positively addressed. There are opportunities for bigger practices.’

However, Dr Philip Fielding, chair of Gloucestershire LMCs, warned that the new contract will put smaller practices further at risk.

He said: ‘A new voluntary contract with strings attached may be the equivalent of changing one set of chains with another as we are thrown back into the sea as too insignificant to matter.’

But the GPC expressed its anger at the lack of consultation before the contract was announced. Deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that the current offering ‘does nothing to address the root causes of the pressures on general practice’.

He said: ‘Many GPs going through difficult PMS reviews realise how vulnerable practices can be when subject to local funding pressures.’

Readers' comments (20)

  • Vinci Ho

    Opportunity ? Trap?
    To be or not to be:......

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  • et tu brutus?

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  • And so the classic Tory divide and rule begins. Better placed practices take the bait of the financial trinkets on offer from the new 7 day contract whilst the paupers are left with a cachetic GMS. Eventually the survivors of the GMS famine will have to sign up to 7 day or face extinction. Then all the 7 day incentives will become unpaid contractual commitments. Evil genius.

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  • Turkeys voting for Christmas.

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  • These people need to get the spine the junior Drs have and say NO!

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  • Nicely packaged for United Health, Virgin care et al to buy. And how will this solve the recruitment crisis? Faceless megapractices disenfranchising all but the management-speak GPs on the board. Do not trust this. Have you been following #juniorcontract?

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  • This just reinforces my long held belief that LMCs are naive, incompetent and unfit to sgree local contracts. They make GPC look professional

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  • No, LMCs are hand in glove with the culprits. The people heading federations in most areas are LMC GPs working together with GPs in CCGs. Local OOH contracts have also in some areas been given to Surgeries in which one partner is an LMC or CCG official. PM having a field day with colluders

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  • You are so right Anon 17 Oct 7.52. Scandalous Conflict of Interest, exposed repeatedly by PULSE (http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning/commissioning-topics/ccgs/revealed-one-in-five-ccg-board-members-have-potential-conflict-of-interest/20001302.fullarticle.

    But what sticks in the gullet is that we have to pay BY LAW the LMCs, who rubberstamp decisions often against the interests of the majority.
    It is time for GPs to consider if it is worth paying a levy from our ever diminishing income to maintain LMCs in posh offices (not to mention the huge salaries and perks of the top brass).

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