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GPs to be asked to submit undated mass resignation letters

GPs will be asked to sign undated letters of resignation, as the Northern Irish GPC takes forward the plan English colleagues have scrapped.

It said this comes as the Northern Irish Government has failed to address GP concerns over rising workload and diminishing funding, with the situation 'much worse' than England.

Like English LMCs, the Northern Irish LMC conference voted earlier this year to canvas colleagues on resigning en masse unless the Government came up with a satisfactory rescue package for general practice within six months.

Northern Irish GP leaders have demanded:

  • A rescue plan for collapsing practices and out-of-hours services;
  • Immediate implementation of the recommendations of the working group of the GP-led primary care services;
  • Full commitment to transforming the NHS in Northern Ireland into 'the service the public needs'.

But NI GPC chair Dr Tom Black said this had not materialised and there was 'an escalating crisis facing general practice in Northern Ireland; an ever increasing workload, a diminishing workforce, reduced funding and a failing and unsafe out of hours service'.

NI GPC will now be holding a series of roadshows to 'gather opinion and gain consensus on action'.

IIt will ask GPs to sign and submit an undated resignation letter, with the understanding that once there is a ‘critical mass’ of members, it will move to mass resignation.

Dr Black said: ‘We, as a group, have worked hard on behalf of all GPs to persuade the Department of Health to make general practice a priority for investment.

‘However the urgent action we believe that needs to be taken by the Department to save general practice, for example by increasing the number of GP training places to 111 and increasing the funding for general practice, has just not happened.

‘Without these changes, general practice will collapse.'

The GPC in England last month decided against balloting members on mass resignations, claiming NHS England had agreed to roll out actions demanded in its Urgent Prescription for General Practice.

The GPC is also surveying English GP members asking ‘for their views on future negotiations with the Government’.

But Dr Black said that the situation in Northern Ireland is 'much worse than the rest of the UK'.

He said: 'In England, for example, the General Practice Forward View has pledged significant additional funding, we have not had the same level of commitment from the Government here’.

The GP Forward View, launched in April, has pledged an extra £2.4bn annual investment in general practice in England, although this is being rolled out through a series of programmes including hundreds of millinos will go towards extended opening in evenings and weekends.

RCGP Northern Ireland chair Dr John O’Kelly said: 'We are deeply concerned that letters of resignation are being called for but understand the current feeling amongst the profession. At present we are working under such intense pressure to meet the increasing demand for services - we do not have enough GPs to deliver the services our patients need and deserve.

'RCGPNI has been calling for action to address the significant issues facing general practice for many years but the response up to now has been disappointing and completely inadequate. We have warned of the potential crisis ahead if action was not taken and unfortunately that crisis is now a reality.'

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Readers' comments (29)

  • Good on you guys, show that at least Norn Iron GPs have some self respect and self worth, unlike the GPC over here in England... Pitiful. Good luck.

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  • It won't work, unless a threat of mass cancellation of BMA, LMC and RCGP subscriptions. Miraculously, our "leaders" will rapidly produce fantastic results.

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  • It won't work, unless you threat mass cancellation of BMA, LMC and RCGP subscriptions. Then, miraculously, your "leaders" will rapidly produce fantastic results.

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  • Good luck

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  • About time ! A Gp locum to cover sickness or even holidays is a thing of the past !!

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  • Sounds like the folk in NI have the balls English GPs lack

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  • John Glasspool

    An-mhaith!
    An BMA atá níos ísle ná míolra.

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  • I still dont know why gps dont just only do the work which is paid for on their contracts. Far easier?

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  • GP contract is unlimited contacts. In NI consultations have risen 50% in 12 years. WE see 90% of all consultations in the NHS, but Funding has fallen from 11% to 5.5%. This is a deliberate targeting of GPs as mugs. I know some of these folks in the DOH personally. They are of the same opinion of us as so many papers, politicians and patients. We are overpaid and lazy. So, it is time to say goodbye to this type of GP land. An Eire type possibly lies ahead.

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  • good luck but this government doesn't bluff and they have media support and some strong public support (a vocal minority) so if you are putting forward mass resignation then you had better mean it. i fully support it and hope you achieve your goals.

    if mass resignation does occur the transition should be straightforward as i think in the republic there is a two tier system of public/independent so mass resignation in N. Ireland will just bring you in line with the republic system.

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