Stormy waters ahead as GPs rail at IT fiascos
GP anger over IT issues looks set to provoke debate at this year's LMCs' conference, which is destined to be one of the stormiest in years.
LMCs from across the country have submitted motions outlining a catalogue of IT problems. Delegates will discuss a range of controversial issues surrounding the National Programme for IT, including problems with Choose and Book, patient confidentiality and the NHS Care Records Service.Devon LMC alone has submitted three separate motions on the topic. One states 'conference is disgusted at the billions of pounds of NHS funds being poured into the current muddled IT program', while a second demands an immediate end to Choose and Book referrals.The third calls for patients to opt in rather than opt out from having a Summary Care Record, and warns 'the public are sleepwalking into a medical confidentiality disaster because the Government has downplayed real concerns'. Other topics likely to provoke heated discussion at the conference on 14 and 15 June, in London, include Government 'GP-bashing', fears over professional regulation and fallout from the pay freeze.Dr James Gillgrass, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex LMCs, said LMC secretaries were expecting this year's conference to be particularly eventful.'I think last year was a little bit quiet, we had the honeymoon period because we had the new contract,' he said. 'It's perhaps not surprising that what we're seeing now is all the problems that are arising. We've got the Review Body report, IT, revalidation and everything around that, and a number of other issues.'LMCs also filed motions highlighting Government 'spin' and calling for the GPC to do more for GPs' public image.Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMCs, said: 'There's a lot around the concerns of the morale of the profession being undermined by this constant barrage of criticism.'Dr Greg Graham, secretary of Gwent LMC, said the effects of the pay freeze would overshadow the conference.'That's what everyone wants to talk about,' he said. 'There's no margin for development at the present time. 'There is no looking at anything imaginative for the future, because there's no money in it.'
Hot topics• IT problems – GP disillusionment with Choose and Book and concerns over patient confidentiality• 'GP-bashing' – Government spin and recent national media coverage• Professional regulation – concern over the burden of proof in fitness-to-practise cases and criticism of the GMC• Pay – zero per cent pay award, DDRB report and MPIG