GPs will be balloted on whether to close their lists to new NHS patients en masse after a major vote at the LMCs conference.
The motion, passed narrowly, said the GP Forward View is ‘failing to deliver the resources necessary’ and ‘demands that GPC ballot GPs as to whether they would be prepared to collectively close their lists in response to this crisis’.
It comes after the conference in May last year called on the BMA to ballot GPs on various forms of industrial action – including list closure – if NHS England failed to provide adequate support.
However, they decided against balloting the profession after claiming that NHS England agreed to consider various measures demanded by the BMA. It also took legal advice that many forms of industrial action would constitute a breach of contract.
But the latest motion compels the GPC to ballot GPs on collectively closing their lists – and importantly, unlike last year, there are no caveats to this motion, meaning the GPC will have to take action or go against the will of local leaders.
Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, proposing the motion, said: ‘If we do nothing we will collapse and there will be no access for anyone.’
GPC executive member Dr Mark Sandford Wood warned that the BMA ‘asked a similar question in a survey of the profession and 34% said they would support them’.
He added that the BMA took legal advice that suggested such action would ‘likely be a breach of contract’.
‘The BMA could be found to be inducing it. There are risks to this,’ he said.
But Dr Applebee replied: ‘How can we carry on as we are? If not now, then when?’
The idea of a mass closing of lists was first suggested by Pulse editor Nigel Praities.
Motion in full
That conference believes that the GP Forward View is failing to deliver the resources necessary to sustain general practice and demands that GPC ballot GPs as to whether they would be prepared to collectively close their lists in response to this crisis.