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LMCs reject vote of no confidence in the GPC

Grass roots GPs have rejected a vote of no confidence in the GPC at the LMCs conference in London today following an intervention from the GPC chairman, who said he found criticisms of the negotiators ‘personally insulting’.

A motion attacked the GPC’s role in the Government’s pensions reforms and the GP contract imposition, saying that the GPC and its negotiators have ‘lost the faith of the profession’ as a result of the outcome of the negotiations.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said it was ‘insulting’ to suggest that he was not a grassroots GP himself.

Kingston LMC’s Dr Richard van Maellarts, proposing the motion, said: ‘For too long, GPC negotiators have been but the messengers of bad news. We work for monopoly, but we forgot we’re a monopoly provider. We picked the wrong fight - if we’d said no, or even 50% said no, what could the Government have done?

‘We won’t be able to mention a strike in Whitehall for a decade without being laughed at. [RMT union general secretary] Bob Crow doesn’t think about commuters on the train, he thinks about his members… We’re stuck in a position where we are being withered away at endlessly.’

He added that negotiators were not engaged with general practice and not representative of the workforce.

But Dr Buckman hit back, saying: ‘I earn a fraction of the average wage for a UK GP. All our practices face financial hardship. Don’t tell me I’m not engaged with general practice and I’m not a grassroot GP. That applied to all the members of the negotiating team.’

He said the pension changes were not negotiated by the GPC, and were ‘imposed after a fight’.

The GPC only walked away when it became clear that the Government would not negotiate, he added. The GPC contributed by holding 75 roadshows, and carrying out a survey - which received more than 7,000 responses - that informed the GPC’s response to the consultation on the contract.

‘As a results of our consultation response we won improvements to the DES. I think GPs know which party was intransigent and who imposed what on who.’ said Dr Buckman.

Hertfordshire LMC’s Dr Jeremy Cox supported the GPC and said more GPs could have taken industrial action: ‘We should look at ourselves before the GPC. Did we support the GPC in the strike? They asked us to strike and our response was pretty poor. I don’t think it was his fault, it was my fault and I need to fess up.’

Delegates also voted against balloting for a new contract, which Coventry LMC’s Dr Una Duffy said would be the ‘Clint Eastwood contract’ that Jeremy Hunt would be ‘itching’ to negotiate in order to blame all the NHS’s ills on GPs.