This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

A faulty production line

GPs declare rescue package 'inadequate' and vote in favour of industrial action

GPs will be canvassed on their willingness to sign undated resignations and take industrial action following a passionate debate at the LMCs conference this morning.

GP leaders at the LMCs Conference today voted in favour of a motion that said that they ‘not accept the General Practice Forward View is an adequate response’ to the crisis in general practice, and ’considers it to be sufficient grounds for a trade dispute’.

The motion, proposed by Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, follows the call for mass resignations in January, which gave NHS England six months to provide a rescue package.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the motion was about a ‘democratic process’ to see where GPs stand.

Delegates had said that there was not sufficient urgency in the General Practice Forward View, while speakers warned it had failed by not committing any money to core GP funding.

Dr Applebee asked: ’Are we going to accept the demise of general practice? If not now, when? Will there be a general practice to defend if we wait much longer?

’The Government can always find money if the will is there, but is the will there? We have to remember that this is a Government determined to drive through austerity. [Dr Nagpaul] very rightly said yesterday that we must hold NHS England to account, but how?

’They may have belatedly begun to listen but the GP Forward View does not throw the lifeline that practices need right here right now.’

This vote is the profession’s most robust response over whether the General Practice Forward View is adequate as a rescue package.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said yesterday that the number of people leaving general practice suggested that mass resignation is ‘an impending reality, and not a threat’.

Speaking on the motion today, he said: ’The GPC are servants of the democratic process and that democratic process means representing 35,000-40,000 GPs, most of whom are not here today. 

’So for me this motion is about that democratic process. It is about actually asking GPs where they stand. I think we know where they stand, we know exactly what they are experiencing, but it is about actually for the first time getting a real idea of what they want us to do, and what they are prepared to do.

He added that this ’isn’t about threat. He went on: ’I think what is important is that people are leaving, and my proudest moment was, like many others have said, becoming a GP… and then I am sitting here and I am actually worried whether my practice is coping today. And I think many of you here today are worried about whether your practice is coping today.

’I’m worried about looking at my emails. I worry about the two weeks of holiday I would like to take this summer. That is the reality and I think that it is right that we find out from the profession their intent and the reality that is unfolding before us.’

Dr Andrew Green, chair of the GPC clinical and prescribing subcommittee, called on GPs to vote against the motion, saying junior doctors showed the level of support needed to make a stand - which GPs were unlikely to match. 

He said: ’What is the juniors’ greatest strength? It is unity. What would be our greatest mistake? To expose disunity. And that is exactly what a call for industrial action at this time would do. I’m sorry conference but we will not get anywhere near that magical 98% - and that will look like a defeat before we have even started.’

In January, the Special LMC Conference voted overwhelmingly to carry a motion proposing that ‘the GPC should canvass GPs on their willingness to submit undated resignations’ unless ’negotiations with government for a rescue package for general practice’ are ’concluded successfully within six months’.

Motions in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by Tower Hamlets: That conference does not accept the General Practice Forward View is an adequate response to the GPCs statement of need within the BMAs Urgent Prescription for General Practice, and considering this to be sufficient grounds for a trade dispute, unless the government agrees to accept the Urgent Prescription within 3 months of this conference, the GPC should ask the BMA to:

(i) ballot the profession on their willingness to sign undated resignations CARRIED

(ii) ballot the profession on their willingness to take industrial action CARRIED

(iii) ballot the profession as to what forms of industrial action they are prepared to take CARRIED 

(iv) produce a report to practices on the options for taking industrial action that doesn’t breach their contracts CARRIED


AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by Cambridgeshire: That conference with regards to the General Practice Forward View;

(i) Welcomes the acknowledgment of significant past underfunding and commitment to increased spending CARRIED

(ii) believes that most of the investment promised is conditional upon practices delivering transformation and service change CARRIED

(iii) recognises that only some of the demands of the profession have been included, and instructs GPC to continue to press for further dedicated resources to support GPs CARRIED

(iv) does not believe that there is sufficient urgency in the measures described CARRIED

(v) is concerned that the present financial state of the NHS makes the prospects of these financial flows unlikely CARRIED



Readers' comments (87)

  • Bring it on.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The GPC and its Cardie members just don't have the balls!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Empty words...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Thle likes of Bennett are profiteering form various income sources due to connections. Once the 'dreaded privatization' occurs they'll be left in the level playfield which many cardigans from CCGs and LMCs will find hard to digest. That is the main problem people see with a GP ballot which will be carried through if it happens. And it will now dear cardigans so gear up for austerity - it's your turn!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If this ballot does happen we will finally know the percentage of cardigans. You cant blast what you cant see.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Bob Hodges

    I don't think it has anything to do with 'balls'. My problem is that is smacks of 'something must be don, so let's do this'.

    I'm all for effective industrial action, and I'll lead the charge like a Viking Beserker if so, I'm just not sure this is it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • No you can't, but you can see those glib talkers at local meetings who support everything that will allow them personally to benefit from funding - King's or PMs or any other grubby penny they can lay their greedy hands on. These are the identifiable cardigans who are blocking any protests.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What is the opposite of a cardigan? I don't know what to wear to express my support for ballot. Jeans on Fridays? Hoodies? Moustache?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm not sure where this "privatisation" scare comes from. The fact of the matter is the demand will still be there and the population simply will be unlikely to accept a 111 style service or a nurse led service to replace the entirety of primary care.

    A private company doesn't make enough money out of general practice which is why the inroads made by Virgin et al are so low at present. It is simply too lean to make a profit from for most. If the govt decides to fatten the pot, then this problem would be solved without private involvement automatically.

    Unfettered free market privatisation is also never a bad thing for doctors, in view of the current supply and demand paradigm. Even in countries of oversupply, doctors make a respectable earning.

    So we need to stop worrying about what will happen if we mass resign and focus on changing the very poor conditions which is leading so many to retire, locum or emigrate, and so few to enter the profession.

    I find those who shout "beware privatisation" seems to have missed the point - that holding on as it is, is not longer an option.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • will locums and salaried gps be included ?

    if so where do i sign ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say