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GP leaders vote down proposal for struggling practices to go private

GP leaders from across England have voted down a proposal for struggling practices to be supported by the BMA to go private.

The motion, debated at today's England LMCs Conference, said that 'given that a number of GPs feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS' the conference 'calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model'.

Delegates discussing the motion said there had to be an 'honest debate' about models amid Government and CCG underfunding of general practice.

Proposing the motion, Dr Christiane Harris from Bedfordshire LMC said GPs feel like they are on a 'hamster wheel' every day. 

'All this motion is asking is for GPC to support practices who want to explore a future outside the NHS,' they argued.

But Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, urged delegates to 'please' not vote the motion through.

She said: 'The solution is not to throw the towel in and vote for private practice.'

She argued that it would be a 'betrayal' against the 'principles of the NHS', and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy 'can afford the NHS'.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of the BMA's GP Committee, said the motion did not call on practices in general to start charging for services, just that BMA should support practices who choose to make this move.

But he added: 'I must ask conference in view of the message... that this will send out, that you vote against this motion.'

Motion in full

BEDFORDSHIRE: Given that a number of GPs genuinely feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS, conference calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model.

Readers' comments (23)

  • I pay the £38 a month only on the basis that I get the BMJ and that should I need some legal industrial representation then I could access the BMAs resources. They don't represent me politically and they should remember that. They are my union and I expect them to ballot me and represent my views in political discussions.

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) There is absolutely no surprise to me that the proposal would be voted down , not because of a matter of perceived righteousness. Instead, the motion was easily hijacked by the emotion of whether we ,GP , should simply go private or not.The bottom line of the motion is asking whether BMA/GPC should help and support those beleaguered practices which made a decision to go private. These practices would have made this difficult decision after a lot of introspection. Hence , the decision should be respected. In name of liberty (not necessarily equality ) , I think BMA/GPC should help these practices.
    (2) It is a fact that BMA/GPC do not represent all GPs , full stop. Our common enemy , however, being not interested in talking to any representative going against its political agenda(s) by default, only just reluctantly negotiates with GPC on GP contracts annually. Facing the chaotic political circumstances this government is under , it will 'vehemently' deny GPs to go private anyway as Agent Hunt said we would not be 'allowed' to relinquish and sever our connections to NHS.
    (3) But does that mean we should not explore where our consensus should be?
    As I wrote before , with my crazy imagination, I think BMA should provide free membership to all practising GPs for say , 6 or 12 months , and call for a referendum(use another word if this is legally forbidden) of whether GPs should remain or leave (those words again ,I know!) in NHS. If the result was Remain , we would put aside all differences and concentrate on fighting our common enemy even more vigorously. If the result was Leave , the current GPC governing board should dissolve and open an immediate election for the sake of this new mandate.
    This is my own opinion , nothing more , nothing less ......

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  • Just look at the likely change in financial remuneration if private General Practice became normal. The GPs that will lose most are:

    Leaders at the BMA
    Leaders at the RCGP
    LMC leaders
    GP leaders of federations
    Those GPs in poor areas that are well resourced (not many, but often those with the most medico political power)

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