The GPC will draw up a report on potential alternative funding options, including the use of co-payments, that could avert a potential collapse of UK general practice.
GP leaders at the LMCs Conference 2017 in Edinburgh today tasked the GPC with putting together a list of the charging options available and their potential pros and cons.
The decision went against guidance from the GPC’s lead on the issue, GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt, who warned that passing the motion would send the wrong message.
But speaking in favour, Dr Richard Wood of Buckinghamshire LMC said that simply drawing up a list of options did not mean they had to be taken, and that it was important for the profession to have visibility of all available options.
He told delegates: ‘We have heard this morning about the devastating, shameful picture in Northern Ireland. They’re at their TINA moment: There. Is. No. Alternative. If we are to avoid our own TINA moment we need to know our own plan A, B, C, D, and Z.
‘So what are our options? I’m not asking us to choose privatisation. I’m not asking us to choose to charge the vulnerable in society. I’m asking to educate ourselves, to put us in the best possible position. We don’t have to choose the options, but we do need to know they’re there.’
In response Dr McDevitt said: ‘The key issue here is including co-payments, That will be the headline tomorrow, that’s what we’ll be talking about forever.
‘So if that’s the message you want to send, that’s what you do.’
The motion in full:
AGENDA COMMITTEE That conference instructs the GPC to produce a discussion paper outlining alternative funding options for general practice, including co-payments.