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LMCs reject extended access even if resourced

LMC representatives rejected 8am to 8pm, seven day working for GPs even if NHS England consents to provide adequate resources to the ‘satisfaction of the profession’.

GP leaders at the 2014 LMCs Conference in York today agreed to reject the ‘concept’ of providing a routine GP service seven days a week, and ‘commended’ GPs for continuing to provide unscheduled out of hours care.

In the same debate on access the conference agreed that NHS England’s approach over GP practices closing early on Christmas and New Year’s eve had been ‘hypocritical, misguided, and clumsily handled.’

The conference also called for the government to take responsibility for determining the eligibility of patients granted immigration or asylum status, to receive NHS care and this ‘should not fall to GPs’.

Proposing the motion Dr Richard Williams, from Wirral LMC, said he wasn’t convinced by the evidence base for eight till eight, and that GPs were already struggling to provide routine care.

Dr Williams said: ‘First of all, I’m not convinced of the need. Where is the research evidence that patients want it or that it will reduce the pressure on A&E departments that were being blamed for?’

‘Patients and patient surveys complain that patients can’t get appointments, we’re doing full surgeries, ten minute appointments.’

‘Twenty patients in a surgery, extras, et cetera. We’re not on the golf course, we’re not having long lunches, It’s not that we’re not there doing our best seeing as many people as we can.

‘So how could eight till eight, seven day working happen anyway?’

Speaking in favour of providing extended hours access, Dr Nick Morton of Norfolk and Waveney LMC told the conference: ‘Patients do not fall ill at our convenience.’

‘Can we not adapt to provide the sort of care that we would be rightly proud of? However, it does need to be properly funded and planned.’

Dr Bruce Hughes of Devon LMC expressed concern that the matter went beyond money.

He told the conference: ‘In order to do this, we would need a huge increase in the number of GPs that were working regularly, we would need a subsequent increase in all of the support staff that work in our practices,

‘Even then, we would find that the hospitals, and all the community teams, and social services, don’t run an eight to eight service in the same format.’

Part ii of the motion – which called for proper resources to provide extended access – went to an electronic vote which split the conference with 124 votes for and 124 against, and 16 abstentions. The motion was not passed as it required a majority. Parts i and iii of the motion 20 were carried.

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Motion 20

AGENDA COMMITTEE to be proposed by WIRRAL That conference:

(i) rejects the concept of routine general practice care 8-8 seven days a week – Carried

(ii) believes that GPs will only provide routine planned care 8-8 seven days a week if resources are provided to the satisfaction of the profession – Split vote, not carried

(iii) commends GPs for already providing unscheduled general practice care for 24 hours every day, seven days every week. – Carried

Motion 21Carried

OXFORDSHIRE That conference believes the approach of NHS England to Christmas Eve and New Years Eve services by practices was hypocritical, misguided, and clumsily handled, and asks the GPC to educate them on the both GP contract wording and the practical reality of delivering GP services in difficult circumstances.


Motion 212 – Carried

LAMBETH That conference believes that assessment of eligibility for NHS treatment should not fall to GPs or secondary care and calls upon the government to develop a process whereby eligibility for NHS treatment is established by the relevant government department at the time immigration or asylum seeker status is granted.