Exclusive Local medical committees (LMCs) should consider suspending funding that backs the BMA’s GP Committee, a leaked document has said.
LMCs currently pay a voluntary ‘quota’ or levy of 3p per head of patient population to the GP Defence Fund (GPDF) – a limited company that collects money from LMCs to support GP interests, including via funding provided to the BMA to run the GPC and for organising LMC conferences.
But an unattributed document, shared with all LMCs and seen by Pulse, urged LMCs to consider suspending these contributions to the GPDF, meaning the GPC’s funding could see cuts if this goes ahead.
The document pointed to the BMA’s GP Committee being in ‘total disarray’ and suggested that ‘insufficient funding streams’ from GPDF to a ‘dysfunctional’ GPC England are behind ‘poor contractual outcomes in England which have led increasing numbers of GPs to leave partnership and in some cases hand back their contracts’.
It heavily criticised the GPDF and said it has ‘amassed significant reserves’ that are ‘indefensible’ in light of the ‘collapse of general practice, especially in England’.
The document, entitled ‘Is GPDF Defending GPs?’, said: ‘An LMC may choose to consider whether it wishes to suspend its quota contributions, at least until the GPDF begins to satisfactorily serve the interests of the profession with regard to national representation and direct support for LMCs.’
It added: ‘Such withheld quotas could be reinitiated if and when such change happens.’
The document also invited LMCs to consider whether a ‘root and branch reform of GPDF required to put the monies of generations of GPs given in good faith to guard against and protect the profession at its time of greatest need to good use’.
It also said:
- The amount the GPDF spends on those who run it is in excess of half a million pounds per year, a 2,100% increase in seven years, and is over a quarter of all levies sent to GPDF by LMCs
- GPDF spends ten times more on the 12 people running it than it does on ‘LMC development’
- The GPDF chair, Dr Douglas Moederle-Lumb, was given a 19.6% pay rise in 2022, meaning the remuneration of this role has increased 900% in seven years
- According to information given at the AGM and Annual Report, the GPDF spends £24,412 on travel and expenses
- The two unelected members of the management team have been in post for around 20 years each but their remuneration is ‘unknown to members of the company’
- The current amount the GPDF contributes toward national GP representation is far less than it was prior to reforms and could be implied to have created significant problems for English representation in particular
- Under the current system, GPs in England (especially in large cities) are ‘subsidising the meetings of reps in other countries at the expense of England’.
The GPDF website explains its funding structure: ‘Every GP and LMC contributes on the same basis for mutual benefit and the collective good of general practice.’
It says: ‘This payment is made on a “per patient” basis, collected initially by the LMC, and then contributed on a “quota” basis to GPDF, based on the reported patient population for their area, which they confirm to the GPDF every three years.’
Pulse has contacted GPDF for comment.
Work is underway to explore the creation of a new representative body for GPs, in the form of a ‘National Association of LMCs’, amid dissatisfaction with the BMA.