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GP leaders planning Easter ‘emergency meeting’ to discuss industrial action

GP leaders planning Easter ‘emergency meeting’ to discuss industrial action

Exclusive The BMA’s GP Committee is planning to get together for an emergency meeting ‘around Easter’ to discuss whether to take industrial action in response to the Government’s contract imposition.

The GP Defence Fund (GPDF), which is funded via LMC levies, has agreed to directly fund the meeting after Pulse revealed that the BMA refused to do so.

GPDF has put aside £50,000 to fund the meeting directly. In addition, Pulse has also learned of a £200,000 budget set aside for ‘contingency’ given that ‘it’s a tumultuous time for the profession’.

NHS England has imposed 2024/25 contract tweaks on GPs to start next month, which includes more stipulations around access but crucially no extra funding.

In response, GPC England said it would be looking at all options including industrial action and a BMA working group has been floating options going further than before.

The group was launched last year to consider and develop options available to GPs in England should the committee decide to formally ballot the profession on industrial action.

Pulse understands that options for action go beyond practices pausing all ARRS recruitment and disengaging from the demands of the PCN DES, which had already been discussed by the union in the past.

It has been thought that ‘strike’ action, or something similar – with GPs withdrawing services for a day – would not be possible because GPs are not employed.

But legal experts have told Pulse that this kind of option was a possibility for GP practices. However, GP leaders have warned that there is little appetite for such action.

GPDF chair Dr Zoe Norris told Pulse: ‘The board of GPDF were asked to fund an additional emergency meeting of GPCE by the GPCE Executive team.

‘Given the imposition for a second year of the GP contract by the government in England, and the urgency of a national response, we have approved the required funding of £50k to allow a face to face meeting for the full committee.

‘We hope this will give GPC members the time needed to help LMCs directly support the GPs they work hard to represent.’

It comes as most LMCs are restarting payments of voluntary levies to the GPDF, after a row between committees and the organisation saw around one-third of LMCs withdrawing their contributions.

During a GPDF general meeting held this week, the new board members including Dr Norris,  Dr Julius Parker and Dr Paul Evans updated LMCs on their plans for the organisation.

Some of the updates included the new priorities of the GPDF including: 

  • All expenditure justifiable to LMCs
  • Positive discussions with LMCs
  • An internal review of structure
  • Operate within budget
  • Legal costs reduced
  • No £40k on research/surveys
  • No worldwide travel insurance for directors

The new leadership team also confirmed that there would be ‘No National Association of LMCs’.

The limited company collects money from LMCs to support GP interests, including funding the BMA’s GP Committee and LMC conferences.

But some LMCs started to suspend payments in September last year due to concerns about the organisation’s finances and a perceived lack of transparency about how their contributions were being used. 

LMCs pay a voluntary ‘quota’ or levy of 3p per head of patient population, which totalled £1,946,375 in payments to the GPDF in 2021 and 1,884,000 this year.  



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

SUBHASH BHATT 20 March, 2023 1:26 pm

Don’t waste 50 k. No industrial action likely or effective if it does take place .

Some" Bloke 20 March, 2023 3:25 pm

recommended agenda:
1. coffee/breakfast.
2. emergency discussion lunch menu.
3. egg hunt.
4. lunch.
5. coffee and chockolates.
6. any other business- i.e biscuits, cakes etc.
7. close

Slobber Dog 20 March, 2023 8:03 pm

Why strike and reinforce everybody’s idea that we do nothing anyway?

David Mummery 20 March, 2023 8:20 pm

Dear GP Leaders,
1. GP partners are not allowed to strike (not employees so will be contract breach)
2.If salaried GPs strike, they will be striking against their employers (GP partners in vast majority of cases)
3. ‘Strike’ or ‘Industrial action’ therefore cannot be done in any meaningful way : non compliance with parts of the PCN specifications is about the limit
4. It will still be portrayed in the media as ‘strike’ or ‘industrial action ‘ ; everyone will get very confused including patients , because what GPC views as ‘industrial action’ will be completely at odds with what the common perception and mainstream media perception of what ‘ industrial action’ is
5. It may well stoke up even more bad-will and hostility towards GPs
6. The work still has to get done anyway, it’s just there will be more of it to do when it all finishes
7. It’s not going to work
8. Think about ‘plan B’ for the future of General Practice please – why not ballot GPs on that instead?

Mark Howson 20 March, 2023 10:33 pm

Work to a safety rule. Consult no more than 25 patients a day F2F or phone turn rest away. It will be a brave NHSE that considers in breach. The GMS just says you provide medical services to your population. It makes no comment on waiting times or place. Send excess to 111 or A&E or waiting list which can get ever longer until it is a two year wait to see a GP as it is for some hospital medics.

Mark Howson 20 March, 2023 10:35 pm

The alternative is a slow decline in GP until there are few NHS GPs left and the next generation will leave or go private like dentists.

David Mummery 21 March, 2023 6:44 am

Also … 50K for meeting ???? Seriously?!

Turn out The Lights 21 March, 2023 9:08 am

A weekend in London with food and accomodation .Prawn sandwiches are expensive you know.