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LMCs split over action on pay freeze

LMCs are split on what the GPC's response should be to the GP pay freeze, ahead of this week's unprecedented summit.

A straw poll of LMC representatives, carried out before Pulse went to press, suggested some would push for boycotts of Government policies whereas others would take a more laid-back approach.A

fter LMC secretaries outline their constituents' concerns to the GPC in the morning at BMA House, the GPC will meet in the afternoon to discuss what action, if any, should be taken.

Dr Fay Wilson, who will chair the meeting, said the GPC's decision would depend on whether LMC secretaries believed there was an appetite for further action among their members.

Dr Peter Graves, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC chair, said there was a split in his area over what to do, with a slight majority calling for a stop to Choose and Book, the access DES, referral management schemes, PCT 'prescribing edicts' and practice-based commissioning.

He said: 'I don't think many GPs in this area feel they're underpaid. I think there is much more of an issue around the recent bad press, the demoralisation of the profession and the undermining of the profession by a Government policy to slag off the people that are the cornerstone of the NHS.'

Dr Simon Parkinson, Worcestershire LMC secretary, said Worcestershire GPs had suggested a survey to counter suspicion and had shown 'reasonable support' for refusing to co-operate with Choose and Book and other Government initiatives.

He added: 'What is very clear is how bad morale is. Last week I had three communications with three eminent GPs – people who are key players – who were really negative, asking what they were going to get out of this. The Government seems to have shot itself in the foot.'

Chris Locke, Nottingham LMC secretary, said many GPs felt aggrieved but were 'at a loss' about what to do. 'I think there will be a few of our constituents who share the view that the GPC are incompetent, but we are not getting a sense that there's a widely held view,' he said.

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