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Independents' Day

GPs approve 'nuclear deterrent' of mass resignation at emergency conference

GP leaders have moved a step closer to a potential mass resignation should the Government fail to respond to ongoing pressures facing general practice.

At today’s Special LMC Conference, delegates 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’.

But to the dismay of some GPs, the motion was watered down ahead of the debate, having originally suggested the GPC go ahead and request undated resignations at the six-month deadline, rather than just canvassing.

The motion, in three parts, called on the GPC to identify what other actions GPs could undertake without breaching their contracts, and to ballot GPs on what services practices could stop providing in order to reduce workload and ensure ‘safe and sustainable care’ for patients.

A Pulse survey of more that 900 GPs carried out at the end of last year revealed that half (49%) of GPs support mass resignation from the NHS in protest at the current state of general practice.

Today’s special conference  – the first one called since 2003 – looked specifically at ‘what actions are needed to ensure GPs can deliver a safe and sustainable service’ amid concerns over workforce, workload and the defunding of general practice.

The Department of Health has promised a package of ’substantial funding and support’ as part of a big announcement due next month. Earlier this week, NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens said this ‘wide-ranging’ package would include ’measures on workforce, workload and service redesign’.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, a GP in Hertfordhsire, told delegates: ’[This motion] allows time to deploy our nuclear deterrent without actually letting it off. This is the headline to launch the campaign. Hold your noses and vote yes. Send a lightning bolt to NHS England.

’It is not safe, and it is not fair – and it is not just for juniors – because this is a state of emergency. So, conference, if not now, when?’

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he was ‘very happy’ to support the motion because GPs have to do ‘everything we can’ to support general practice.

Dr Anthony O’Brien from Devon LMC said: ‘There is no point canvassing unless you think it is likely you are going to get a consensus. I think this is highly unlikely but let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment, let’s explore it. Mass GP action would need mass GP support.

’Mass support only comes with good, motivating publicity, so if the BMA and GPC truly believe they have a polished public relations machine that could convince GPs to involve themselves in mass action… in the future, well that would be fantastic.

’But that begs the question, what are these PR wizards doing at the moment? They are certainly not using their amazing skills very successfully to get the plight of general practice in newspapers.’

The motion in full

That conference instructs GPC that should negotiations with government for a rescue package for general practice not be concluded successfully within 6 months of the end of this conference:

(i) actions that GPs can undertake without breaching their contracts must be identified to the profession

(ii) a ballot of GPs should be considered regarding what work/services must cease to reduce the workload to ensure safe and sustainable care for patients

(iii) the GPC should canvass GPs on their willingness to to submit undated resignations

Source: BMA


Readers' comments (78)

  • If GP contract holders truly believe that their services are unsafe then they have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to cease providing them don't they?
    And let me preempt the inevitable "but what is the alternative?" It really isn't for providers to find solutions for commissioners.
    Ask yourself - Would you fly with an airline that openly declared that its operations were unsafe? Or an airline that flew planes with unqualified pilots?

    If the cardigans care so much about NHS service users they should cease trading and stop exposing them to danger!

    Ditch the contract comrades!

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  • @mark essop

    The cardigans don't care mate. There job is to keep the gravy train running as long as possible so that their future is secure off the backs of flogging younger doctors .

    If you're young, relatively smart and able you will be making your exit plans.

    If you're thinking that those who came before you have your interests at heart I'm afraid you're going to have to keep waiting.

    Ditch the contract doesn't go far enough...

    Ditch the country comrades!!!

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  • @ Mark Essop,

    Cover blown lol

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  • it's about timing.

    majority of leaders 50 yrs and have pension secured. their remit is to keep system going until THEY exit. the younger generation are expendable.

    they want to move to federated / corporate general practice asap before the next generation get their hands on power.

    i'm guessing the younger generation have nothing to lose from ditching the contract and would leave it to form something else eg like our dental colleagues. unfortunately they will never be given a chance.

    if there are any

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  • Hitler was holding on to power until the last minute ( in his mind that is ). The over 50s cardigans suffer from the same syndrome- delusional disorder with aside of megalomania and self interest. Bon appetitto.

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  • Those carping in this forum that it's just words, please reflect that politics is largely just words but if as a profession we have any desire to influence government policy, political support is exactly what we will need!

    Well done Dr Nagpaul and let's hope you produce some headlines outside the medical press.

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  • RIP general practice.The cavalry is coming over the hill but wait, what is it, its just DR Nagpaul banging a pair of coconut shells together.We're doomed we're all doomed Captain Nagpaul.I afraid we are.Down we go.

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  • General practice dead. LMC meeting was to confirm death.

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  • JH will issue the death certificate next month.

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  • Final nail in the coffin, yeap.

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