GP leaders to vote on new workload limit of 1,500 patients per GP
England LMC leaders are set to vote on whether to instate a new limit of 1,500 registered patients per full-time GP at a conference later this month.
The motion, set to be debated as LMC representatives meet in London on 23 November, further suggests a reduction in core hours to 8am-6pm.
It also suggests GPs’ working commitments should be measured using hours worked rather than ‘sessions’.
The motion says the suggestions come in response to the 'clinical risks of excessive workload'.
The LMCs conference agenda will also see delegates debate the future of GP partnerships, with a motion calling on the GPC to ‘reaffirm’ its commitment to the model.
The same motion also calls for a funding increase to support measures taken as a result of the Government's ongoing review into how to promote the GP partnership model as it has significantly lost popularity.
Pulse's first-ever survey of locum GPs revealed last week than just around one in 10 locums would consider partnership in the future, with a lack of a financial incentive and concerns regarding partner workloads acting as the main barriers.
England LMC delegates will debate a range of measures that could boost the attractiveness of partnership including:
- whether a ‘limited liability partnership’ model should be introduced in general practice; and
- proposals that NHS England should take on liability for premises and staff redundancy costs when GP practices are forced to close.
The news comes as BMA guidance issued earlier this year said GP practices should declare ‘black alerts’ when they could no longer cope with demand, during which they would divert or cancel all routine appointments.
The guidance, which followed a BMA vote in favour of such alerts last year, suggested that 25 routine appointments a day were a 'safe' limit for individual GPs, with 35 deemed as 'unsafe'.
Last month the BMA called for the NHS’s long-term plan, which is due for publication later this month, to allow GPs to set workload limits.
A Pulse survey previously revealed that GPs in the UK have an average of 41.5 patient contacts every day - 60% more than the number considered safe by European GPs.
LMC representatives will also vote on whether the BMA should completely renegotiate the GP contract for the first time since 2004, and whether NHS England should issue multi-year contracts.
Other conference motions focus on:
- Condemning ambulance services which downgrade calls from GP surgeries;
- Reaffirming support for the partnership model;
- Condemning the health secretary’s support for GP at Hand and ending the out-of-area registration scheme which enables Babylon to sign up patients from across London.
Motions in full
AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY SHROPSHIRE: That conference, mindful of the clinical risks of excessive workload, believes that:
(i) an assessment of a GP’s commitment should be based on total hours worked rather than sessions
(ii) the core contracted hours should be reduced to 08.00 hours – 18.00 hours
(iii) a limit of 1500 patients per WTE GP should be set as standard.
SURREY: That conference:
(i) reaffirms its support for the GP partnership model of delivery of primary medical services
(ii) urges that any acceptable outcome of the current GP Partnership Review includes a direct financial uplift in GMS Global Sum and/or PMS Global Sum Equivalent.
AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE: That conference calls on GPC England to reduce the inherent risks in the current partnership model that are alienating GPs and pushing experienced GPs into early retirement by negotiating with the government to:
(i) introduce a form of Limited Liability into the partnership model for contract holders
(ii) recognise the financial burden of taking on a partnership by seeking full reimbursement of necessary costs incurred in providing NHS premises
(iii) require NHS England to cover staff redundancy costs in the case of list dispersal
(iv) ensure NHS England is obligated to take over the lease of a collapsed practice and act as a tenant of last resort
(v) introduce a statutory cap to the liability which can befall a contractor who finds themselves in the position of being 'last partner standing'.