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GPs to vote on charging overseas patients for routine appointments

GP leaders will vote on whether to charge overseas visitors as private patients for use of NHS general practice, with any fees to be retained by the practice in full.

The motion put forward by East Sussex LMC for the 2016 Local Medical Committees Conference in London this month argues that care at urgent care settings and A&E should be offered as a free ‘alternative’.

This comes after the Department of Health launched a consultation charging foreign visitors for some GP services, such as blood and lung-function tests, but keeping consultations free.

The RCGP has called the proposals ’regressive’ saying they would lead to more deaths.

Several LMCs have submitted motions calling for the GPC to collect undated resignations from GPs following on from the motion at the Special LMCs Conference earlier this year, but a change in format means there is no guarantee they will be discussed.

One motion - which will definitely be debated - seeks to address the additional workload burden thrown up by patients requesting certification for work absences, calling for an extension of national self-certification standard to 14 days.

The GP trainees subcommittee has also called for a review on the future of the independent contract status.

The motion asks for a survey of trainee and young GPs’ career intentions and proposals on how the independent contractor model can be preserved while offering new GPs the protected training time, and employment rights that hospital doctors enjoy, and exploring salaried systems.

Other motions, all of which are not guaranteed to be debated, include calls for:

  • Health Education England to encourage the recruitment of overseas GPs to fill workforce gaps;
  • A ballot of the profession on mass patient list closures because of the ‘currently unmanageable workload’;
  • CQC fees to be paid on a capitation basis;
  • An end to home visits being part of the core GP contract;
  • GPs who have spent ‘significant portions’ of their career working nights being entitled to retire five years earlier than pensionable age. 

The LMCs Conference this year will take a different format from previous conferences, with delegates taking part in wider debates on four main areas: funding; workload; workforce; and professionalism.

Motions in full

EAST SUSSEX: That conference believes that overseas visitors should be able to attend UK general practitioners but:

(i) this should only be on a private fee-paying basis

(ii) any fees paid should be retained in full by the general practice

(iii) it remains open to the government to offer NHS care free to overseas visitors at walk-in-centre, urgent care centres, and accident and emergency departments, and patients can be offered these alternatives.


AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by the Scottish Conference of LMCs: That conference calls for:

(i) an extension of self-certification for illness from 7 to 14 days

(ii) a change in legislation to allow other health care professional such as midwives, allied health professionals and nurse practitioners to complete ‘fit notes’ for patients.

Readers' comments (16)

  • How about charge ALL patients!

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  • extra fee need to be paid for refugee by government to gp's. they take long time due to complicated long histry. they may not speak english (not their fault) children may not be immunised. govt is very happy as gp offer this service free. it is hard work for whole practice.

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  • Cardies wont have the guts to do it.

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  • @above

    quite correct. the LMC conference is an annual cardigan jolly and anyone who usually speaks about charging anyone for anything is routinely booed off stage by these champagne socialists.

    The cardigans (Those in mid 50's and above) are only interested in keeping the status quo so that those younger can keep slogging away to pay for their pensions. They have been put to shame by the junior doctors who have taken on the govt rather than the gutless cardigans that run our profession and year after year offer only empty platitudes that many in the DOH probably laugh at and then carry on regardless.


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  • The problem with this is that routine problems would present as 'urgent'. This will only work if ALL appointments are charged for.

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  • Why is it ''regressive'' (RCGP comment) when we go abroad we obtain appropriate insurance and would expect to pay...

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  • @1853. Then the urgent care centre or A&E should send them away, as they should for all routine primary care issues for any patient.

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  • I like a proposal to stop home visits being part of contract.
    As for CQC fees to be paid on capitation basis, not so sure. Personally don't think CQC fees should be paid by anyone at all. The lot of them can continue on their mission on their own good will, just like I currently do seeing overseas visitors and refugees.

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  • Junior doctors have been definitely decisive about their professional respect and value hence they have taken the action to strike. Their demands have received tremendous public support. I am sure my GP colleagues will agree that majority of our patients agree that we are overworked ,underpaid and undervalued but the GP 'clan' neither has courage nor guts to demand from government what is owed to us .

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  • "The RCGP has called the proposals ’regressive’ saying they would lead to more deaths."

    Once again the RCGP (or is it really just Maureen's personal opinions being claimed as being the RCGP) make my blood boil. According to the RCGP then every other civilised country has unnecessary deaths, even that socialists' paradise Sweden charges patients to see the doctor. Maureen, or perhaps the entire RCGP, inhabits a dream fantasy world, where she bans all the evidence from the rest of planet earth.

    Why oh why do GPs put up with the current management of the RCGP?

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