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GPC faces no-confidence vote over contract negotiations at LMCs Conference



GPC negotiators face a no-confidence vote at this month’s annual LMCs Conference, in a motion proposing the profession has ‘lost faith’ in their leadership over the outcomes of recent pensions and contract negotiations.

LMC representatives will also be voting on whether to declare the 2013/14 GP contract ‘unfit for purpose’ and whether they should mandate the GPC to hold a GP ballot over whether a new contract is needed.

The vote comes after GPs across the UK were faced with the worst GP contract deals for 2013/14 since the 2004 contract was introduced, and the failure of talks to prevent the Government imposing pension reforms that will see contribution rates increased and GPs working longer.

Pulse revealed yesterday that GPs face a ‘fundamental review’ of how practices are paid that will report later this year, after NHS England identified reforming primary care funding as one of its three main priorities.

The agenda from the conference – published today – contains a motion from Kingston and Richmond LMC that proposes: ‘That conference believes that GPC and its negotiators have lost the faith of the profession as a result of the outcome of the negotiations over NHS pensions scheme changes and the 2013 GP contract imposition.’

In a sub-motion, it has added, with a nod to Pulse’s Big Interview with GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman in January this year: ‘That conference is adamant that governments do not hold all the cards in any negotiations and that the GPC’s future negotiating position and strength has been harmed.’

The motions come after LMCs Conference chair Dr Michael Ingram urged the GPC to ‘listen to grassroots general practice’ at the forthcoming meeting on the 23 and 24 May in London. In an interview with Pulse, Dr Ingram said: ‘I want to see a connect between that hacked-off GP and the policies the GPC tries to attain for the profession.’

Croydon LMC has further argued in another motion that ‘GPC has lost its influence over government’, while Hillingdon LMC said GPs have ‘been let down by the GPC’ and has asked how this situation ‘can be rectified’.

Another motion to be discussed, proposed by Sheffield LMC, says the conference: ‘agrees that the current GP contract is unfit for purpose’ and ‘instructs the GPC to ballot GPs on whether they should demand a new contract’.

Other motions to be debated include the negotiation of a confidential whistleblowing helpline for GPs, a call for nationally agreed standards of evidence for appraisals for revalidation and a motion which said the CQC is ‘not fit for purpose’ and that a chief inspector of primary care should not be appointed.

LMCs will also debate whether to mandate the GPC to raise the point that MRCGP exam results are consistently lower in international graduates than UK graduates, and that this calls into question the ‘validity’ of the exam.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘It is understandable that GPs are angry given the decision by ministers to impose a series of ill thought out changes to the GP contract that will drive up workload and cut an average practice’s resources.

‘However, we hope that conference will during the course of the debate understand that we should be directing our criticism at the Government who disregarded years of productive negotiations, including a potential settlement in October 2012 that would have delivered a far better outcome for patients and general practice.

‘The negotiators continue to provide strong leadership for GPs on a range of issues, including being at the forefront of highlighting problems with the NHS 111 system.’

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman added: ‘It would be a disappointing year if there wasn’t a vote of no-confidence in the chairman or the GPC. That happens almost every year. I think it is important that the GPC is held to account. I don’t have the slightest problem with that, I expect it. There has been a couple of years when we haven’t had one but it is extremely common to have one so I am not surprised at all by that.’

What the motions say

Conference believes that GPC and its negotiators have lost the faith of the profession as a result of the outcome of the negotiations over NHS pension scheme changes and the 2013 GP contract imposition.

Conference is adamant that governments do not hold all the cards in any national negotiations and that the GPC’s future negotiating position and strength have been harmed.

Conference believes that, at a time when general practice is under attack and the GP contract is being dismantled by the Department of Health, the profession needs strong leadership and positive ideas from the GPC and not the current apparent defeatism.

Conference believes that GPs are now completely inconsequential having been let down by the GPC and asks how this state of affairs can be rectified.

Click here to read the full agenda