GP leaders from across England have voted down a proposal for struggling practices to be supported by the BMA to go private.
The motion, debated at today’s England LMCs Conference, said that ‘given that a number of GPs feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS’ the conference ‘calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model’.
Delegates discussing the motion said there had to be an ‘honest debate’ about models amid Government and CCG underfunding of general practice.
Proposing the motion, Dr Christiane Harris from Bedfordshire LMC said GPs feel like they are on a ‘hamster wheel’ every day.
‘All this motion is asking is for GPC to support practices who want to explore a future outside the NHS,’ they argued.
But Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, urged delegates to ‘please’ not vote the motion through.
She said: ‘The solution is not to throw the towel in and vote for private practice.’
She argued that it would be a ‘betrayal’ against the ‘principles of the NHS’, and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy ‘can afford the NHS’.
Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, said the motion did not call on practices in general to start charging for services, just that BMA should support practices who choose to make this move.
But he added: ‘I must ask conference in view of the message… that this will send out, that you vote against this motion.’
Motion in full
BEDFORDSHIRE: Given that a number of GPs genuinely feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS, conference calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model.