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GPC to announce mass resignation ballot decision next week

Exclusive The GPC will be informing LMCs next week about its decision on whether or not to ballot the profession on mass resignations.

The unprecedented action, which was rubber-stamped by LMCs at the annual conference in May after being floated at the Special Conference in January, is coming up to the three-month deadline at the end of next week.

Notably, NHS England has not agreed to to all of the GPC’s demands for improved terms, as outlined in its Urgent Prescription for General Practice.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘The timeframe for the motion is imminent. It is around 20 August [based on the conference motion timeframe]. It has obviously been discussed quite significantly within the GPC, and we have had a lot of engagement with NHS England since the conference itself.

‘We are putting together a statement which we will be issuing shortly, relating to all these issues.’

Dr Vautrey said the GPC has made its decision on whether or not to ballot the profession and the GPC ‘will be able to inform LMCs and others of what the situation is’ within ‘the next few days’.

The conference motion had declared LMCs did ‘not accept’ that the GP Forward View was ‘an adequate response to the crisis in general practice’, and ‘considers it to be sufficient grounds for a trade dispute’.

It called on NHS England to adopt the GPC’s measures to ease the crisis in general practice, including:

  • Setting a maximum limit on the number of patients a GP can see in a day;
  • Setting out a list of services not covered in core GMS which are optional tasks for practices and subject to national pricing benchmarks;
  • Ending the duplication of CQC and NHS Performers List registration;
  • Agreeing a nationally defined contract for GPs employed by other providers;
  • Introducing 15-minute consultations;
  • Creating a new care homes DES.

The motion, proposed by Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, followed the call for mass resignations in January, which gave NHS England six months to provide a rescue package.

LMC delegates argued there was not sufficient urgency in the GP Forward View and said it had failed by not committing any money to core GP funding.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said at the time that the motion was about a ‘democratic process’ to see where GPs stand.

GPC member Dr Dean Eggitt, medical secretary for Doncaster LMC, told Pulse: ‘GPC and the BMA take very seriously the LMC Conference and if a mandate was given from conference to come out with a solution within a timeframe, a solution within a timeframe will come out. So I would expect a clear communication imminently.’

But Dr Eggitt warned against actually submitting mass resignations.

He said: ‘I think the Government would be quite happy to lose the independent provider status of GPs and to have those GPs on the market ready to be employed by an alternative provider. Personally I think that is the strategy of the Government, so for us to do this and hand it to them on a platter I think is insane.’

The May LMC Conference motions in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by Tower Hamlets: That conference does not accept the General Practice Forward View is an adequate response to the GPCs statement of need within the BMAs Urgent Prescription for General Practice, and considering this to be sufficient grounds for a trade dispute, unless the government agrees to accept the Urgent Prescription within 3 months of this conference, the GPC should ask the BMA to:

(i) ballot the profession on their willingness to sign undated resignations CARRIED

(ii) ballot the profession on their willingness to take industrial action CARRIED

(iii) ballot the profession as to what forms of industrial action they are prepared to take CARRIED 

(iv) produce a report to practices on the options for taking industrial action that doesn’t breach their contracts CARRIED

 AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by Cambridgeshire: That conference with regards to the General Practice Forward View;

(i) Welcomes the acknowledgment of significant past underfunding and commitment to increased spending CARRIED

(ii) believes that most of the investment promised is conditional upon practices delivering transformation and service change CARRIED

(iii) recognises that only some of the demands of the profession have been included, and instructs GPC to continue to press for further dedicated resources to support GPs CARRIED

(iv) does not believe that there is sufficient urgency in the measures described CARRIED

(v) is concerned that the present financial state of the NHS makes the prospects of these financial flows unlikely CARRIED