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A faulty production line

GPC prepares to go to war on contract as LMCs lobby for commissioning boycott

Exclusive: LMC leaders are to call on the GPC to lead a boycott of commissioning and other work not directly related to patient care in a last-ditch bid to stop ministers imposing sweeping changes to the GP contract.

A number of LMCs plan to raise the possibility of GPs withdrawing from commissioning work or working to rule at the LMC Secretaries’ Conference this week, while Pulse understands the GPC has already begun internally debating a range of measures short of strike action.

GPC negotiators said legal issues would need to be addressed but refused to rule out ‘widespread non-cooperation with Government policy’.

The BMA has also begun planning a series of roadshows to hear from grassroots GPs in ‘early 2013’.

Last week the Department of Health reiterated its warning that its offer of a 1.5% funding uplift would be taken off the table if the GPC does not agree to the proposed deal, which includes a raft of new QOF work next year and the phasing-out of the MPIG over seven years from 2014.

The publication of the DH’s Statement of Financial Entitlements setting out the details of its offer is expected imminently, after which the GPC has said it will issue further guidance.

Meanwhile, LMC secretaries were planning to use their annual conference on Friday, which will be attended by GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman and held in private, to call for a robust response.

Dr Paul Roblin, secretary of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs, said negotiators would use the meeting to take the temperature of grass-roots GPs.

‘If things from the working week need to be dropped because of a lack of funding, then commissioning should be first on the list,’ he said. ‘The trick is for us to achieve something that will not become a PR disaster.’

A second LMC was also understood to be due to call for a commissioning boycott, while Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, warned that if ministers imposed the deal, even the ‘least militant GPs would start saying no to extra work’ that was not directly about providing patient services.

Dr Ravi Mene, secretary of Salford and Trafford LMC, said:  ‘The best way forward for GPs would be to work to rule – to do exactly what is expected of us in our contracts and absolutely nothing more. We have to make our feelings known and I will be raising this.’

A senior GPC member who asked not to be named said the GPC decided at its meeting on 15 November to look at all the legitimate legal options.

‘This could include complete non-engagement with the CCG agenda in order to stop dangerous service rationing and spend more time with patients,’ he said.

‘We will also look at our revalidation work and all the bureaucracy that entails – basically anything that does not involve direct patient care.’

GPC negotiator Dr ChaandNagpaul said the LMCs’ meeting, which he was attending this week, was ‘very well placed to feed back the perspectives of grassroots GPs’. He added: ‘In terms of disengagement from CCGs… if it was seen as the GPC instructing widespread non-cooperation with Government policy, there are legal issues involved. But that is not to say it can’t be done.’

Dr Tom Frewin, a member of Avon LMC, said:  ‘The Government is ignoring fair play and saying sod you, so a boycott of commissioning could be the only thing that might bring them back to the negotiating table.

‘The Government has invested a lot of political capital on commissioning so it could work.’


Readers' comments (14)

  • Focus on GP workload and the impact on patients! Remember the Government advisors will be on the phone to their "special friends" at The Daily Mail.....................

    Newspaper Headline......

    "Evil GPs too lazy to come off golf course and work 2 hour days" or

    "Devil-worshipping Docs spend time doing Satanic rituals rather than seeing patients"

    All GPs went to Eaton and drive Bentleys, of course, the greedy said it in the Mail so it must be true! they will say.

    or some other insane drivel written by a spotty apprentice journalist trying to climb the greasy pole of media propaganda......

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  • Nhsfatcat

    'boycott of commissioning'
    The public are set up to believe that we have the NHS budget in our hands (and wallets.)
    Non co-operation means commissioning fails- check.
    Commissioning is the GPs responsibility- Checkmate.
    Bend over boys and girls it's on its way unless the GPC / BMA are like Dynamo and can conjure something truly spectacular.

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  • We can still change the public perception - but once we have the "responsibility", it'll be too late.

    BMA needs to start getting their ass in gear and act on this. Media publicity on the actual work load and real lack of power n the GP's hands might be a good starting point!

    Although personally, I think BMA executives are connected to the DoH and have no intension for standing up for the doctors.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Remember the lesson learnt from the 'industrial action' !
    How far can you go this time , BMA?
    How many GPs will really support?
    Yes , time is running out fast before 1-4-2013

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  • From a certain date we could all change to 15 minute appointments. The wait time would soar. Patients would not complain as they all think they have 15 minutes already, judging by the number of problems they try and slip in !

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  • already given up hope NI GP

    not sure about 15 min appts.Patients will need to be seen no what length of appt we put in place.nose/face/spite spring to mind.As regards commisioning boycott,what took everybody so long.this isnt industrial action/we will be doing core work,SEEING ILL PATIENTS,but we will not be doing this governments dirty work implementing uncosted/unsafe/political changes.

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  • Another tactic could be every surgery goes to emergency walk in surgeries for the foreseeable future . The patients would be waiting in crowded waiting rooms and the demand would be obvious to all . We could stop all telephone consultations.

    At the moment it is behind closed doors with only the poor GP feeling the pressure of endless demands.

    Anyone looking obviously sick could be flagged up and seen first.

    Yes it would be very inconvenient for patients but that is the point. A little pain now to save patients from an even worse service later.

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  • We should do nothing to inconvenience patients, we don't have to, we simply need to all stop doing any high level commissioning work, and see how they think the skeleton staff at the NCB will manage the whole agenda (Especially as they have now critically wounded every PCT to the point of no return). Nothing in our contracts says we have to do it, and frankly I don't know why we are doing it. PCTs weren't actually doing that bad a job of it in most parts for the country.

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  • I am tired of war and fighting. Let us walk away from this constant state of attrition - broken contracts, promises and pensions. Our only refuge is to leave the NHS. If we stay, it will be more anger and hassle without respite.

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  • What ever is decided if you don't all do it will be a complete waste of time. I am not holding my breath

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