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Independents' Day

'Yes' contract vote almost inevitable, LMCs believe

By Tony Lithgow

The GPC's decision to back the Government's contract offer has made a Yes vote on extended hours almost inevitable, LMC leaders said this week.

A number of polls taken before the crunch GPC meeting earlier this month had suggested GPs would reject the Government's contract offer. But LMC secretaries across the country predicted the controversial GPC resolution - which concluded the deal on the table, Option A, was ‘less damaging for general practice' than the alternative of an imposed contract - is likely to swing the vote.

Dr Greg Place, chair of Nottinghamshire LMC, said: ‘The majority of GPs will vote for Option A.'

In Suffolk, the LMC meeting scheduled to discuss the contract vote was cancelled after the GPC passed its resolution. Bill Robinson, lay chief executive of Suffolk LMC, said: ‘I suspect that most GPs will be influenced by their negotiators to choose Option A. It's the least damaging.'

And Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, also forecast a vote for Option A. ‘It's the least pernicious of two evils,' he said.

But while many grassroots GPs had reacted angrily to the last week's resolution, claiming the GPC had ‘caved in', LMCs were quick to back its handling of the crisis.

Dr Jamie Macpherson, medical secretary of Coventry LMC, said the GPC had had no alternative but to present the options in the way that it did. ‘It's Hobson's choice. But both are bad,' he said.

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