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LMCs vote to keep UK-wide GP contract negotiations

LMC leaders have voted for the GPC to continue conducting UK-wide contract negotiations, despite the vastly different contract deals reached in England and the devolved nations over the past two years.

A motion to let GP leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland negotiate their own contracts completely independent of the national annual negotiations was voted down by delegates, who disagreed with the notion that such a move was now ‘inevitable’.

Proposing the motion, Dr Ian Harris from Morgannwg LMC said that the 2013/14 contract imposition had been the last straw.

He said: ‘For me, the 2013/14 imposition was the last straw for a quintessentially English imposition that was inflicted on the Celtic nations and was a complete disaster for our practices… Conference, I trust the Celtic GPCs and the devolved administrations more than the whims, intransigence, and the political expediency of Westminster, to deliver a contract that’s workable for me and my patients.’

LMCs typically vote on devolving more powers to negotiate the GP contract on an annual basis, however the Scottish LMCs Conference broke with tradition and voted in favour a Scotland-only GP contract going forward.

However, speaking today to the UK conference, Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘What’s key here is that we already have a very flexible system… I don’t actually need this motion in Scotland – even with our independence referendum coming up – in order to do the right thing for GPs in Scotland.’

He added: ‘This year [the GPC] negotiated a big change in QOF, with a UK negotiation, very successfully… The governments and GPCs don’t have to take the whims of the UK Government, but we do want to take the benefits of the UK contract.’

The motion in full (not carried)

MORGANNWG That conference recognises the inevitable and allows the GP committees of the devolved nations to negotiate a contract in the best interests of their constituent GPs rather than one based on the whim of the UK Government.