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English GP leaders to debate cutting core hours to 9-5

English GP leaders to debate cutting core hours to 9-5

English GP leaders will debate whether core hours should be cut to 9-5 at their annual conference later this month.

A motion submitted to conference by Gateshead and Tyneside LMC ‘requests that any new contract reduce core hours to 0900-1700hrs’, with practices starting or finishing later on some days to meet local need.

It further states that the current core hours of 8:00am to 6:30pm are discriminatory against GPs who wish to have families, which due to a still patriarchal society mostly affects females.

A similar motion narrowly failed at the UK wide LMCs conference in March this year, but it is more likely to succeed in England.

Many of the arguments against the UK motion stated that this wasn’t an issue that should have been debated on a UK-wide basis, rather than against the substance.

The new contract in England will be introduced in April 2024, following negotiation between the BMA GP Committee and NHS England and were the motion to pass, the GPC would be mandated to argue for core hours being reduced.

At the UK conference, Pulse columnist Dr Shaba Nabi, who is a GP in Bristol and chair of the English LMCs conference, said: ‘Our hours are at odds with family life.

 ‘The outrage and the reactions to this motion just goes to show how gaslit we are as a profession, that we have internalised the belief that we are worthless, of no value and we should be working 12 and a half hours more than everyone else.

‘This motion does not deny access to urgent care – the excellent out-of-hours service has and always will be there to provide care for GP out of hours – and neither does this motion deny access to routine care in the evenings or the weekends because this needs to be commissioned separately from the core contract for GPs who wish to deliver this.

‘This motion will not deny patient access to GP care, but what it will do is keep patients safer.’

A separate motion at the conference calls on the GPC to negotiate the end of the enhanced access element of the Network DES, which requires primary care networks to open from 9-5 on Saturdays and on weekday evenings.  

Motion in full

GATESHEAD AND SOUTH TYNESIDE: That conference views core hours as a relic of history and:

(i) notes that they total 52.5 hours per week, starting earlier and finishing later than most other jobs, including childcare

(ii) believes that they indirectly discriminate against GPs who wish to have families

(iii) is concerned that due to the still-patriarchal nature of English society, this is discrimination that mostly affects female GPs

(iv) requests that any new contract reduce core hours to 0900-1700hrs, but with practices to start earlier/finish later on some days, as per extended hours, in order to meet local need and practice ability to staff this.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Sam Tapsell 2 November, 2022 4:58 pm

I don’t think the newspapers will find anything to object to here…starts clock

Turn out The Lights 2 November, 2022 5:07 pm

More motions to be passed at the LMC conference never to see the light day .Pass the picolax time to sit by the toilet to flushed them all away.

Andrew Jackson 2 November, 2022 5:19 pm

This is the wrong battle

Kevlar Cardie 2 November, 2022 5:26 pm

Forgive my unconsciously biased, heteronormative, patriarchical, passive-aggressive, micro-aggressive, cultural appropriation of this clip:

Cutting the working day will solve everything.
All those in favour ?

SUBHASH BHATT 2 November, 2022 7:26 pm

24/7 / 365 in past to no nights or week end or bank holidays . Now 9 to 5 ? Can you finish work?

Jonathan Mercer 2 November, 2022 7:44 pm

A classic example of shooting ourselves in the foot. Guaranteed to attract adverse media publicity, and justifiably in my view. What about all those patients do shift work who also have families? Surely we can cover core hours between us, what about the vocational aspect of the job ?

Adam Crowther 2 November, 2022 8:52 pm

Vocate as much as you wish with the clearly essential other wrap around services. Perhaps even work for these organisations for free or donate the remuneration fee to charity. We need a system that recognises all of us working darned hard in this job no matter your life or personal circumstances. I have much admiration for colleagues balancing equally important family caring duties with trying to be the best GP version of themselves

Patrufini Duffy 2 November, 2022 9:27 pm

I tried to call the consultant at 4pm, not unreasonable. Their receptionist works until 3pm covering 4 consultants and you’re met with an answer phone. I then tried central bookings – they hung up too, as they’re closed at 5pm.
Dentists. Let’s not start there. They’re definitely shut for lunch, 2hrs

Patrufini Duffy 2 November, 2022 9:30 pm

Btw – these debates are nothing more than candyfloss, wet wipes and the odd bit of tomfoolery banter “hoping” someone cares and drivel.

David Church 3 November, 2022 4:30 am

We need to send a message about what is ‘core’ and what is ‘shifts’, or ‘additional commitment as professionals’.
There is NO ‘professional commitment’ if every hour there is is defined as ‘core slavery’.
Some things just CAN wait until the rest of the world is in working order – indeed they have to because there is nobody there to phone outside of 9-4 (not including Fridays, or Thursday afternoons, or lunchtimes).

Rachel Warrington 3 November, 2022 10:15 am

I agree with Andrew Jackson, this is the wrong battle. We should be bringing administrative tasks into the working day & allocating time appropriately. By reducing core hours, administration will still keep some GPs past 5pm for a couple of hours. It will anger media & patients & likely not improve GP work/life balance. I don’t understand how GPs have got to a place where 30- 40% of the job is done out outside of core hours, unseen & unpaid. Why is this normalised & still ongoing??

North London GP 3 November, 2022 11:38 am

Agree with Rachel above. You will have noticed the expansion of ‘paper clinic@ appointments in secondary care. These are basically admin clinics designated for consultants to deal with all the results and communication about their patients outside of the face-to face contacts.

GP s are possibly the only clinicians left to deal with all the admin tasks in addition to the face-to face contacts salaried GPs have inadequate admin time per session and partners usually have none at all.

Routine sessions are 6 hours (with additional admin tasks) when pay is calculated on 4 hour working patterns. I can’t think of anyone else in the NHS who routinely works 33% of their total hours with no remuneration.

The focus should be on the tasks we can do and think about bringing ‘paper clinics’ to primary care as well. Whether the doors close at 5pm is irrelevant if there are mountains lab results, documents and emailed consultations and no time to deal with them.