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LMCs conference condemns ‘dangerous’ plan to scrap practice boundaries

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government's plans to abandon practice boundaries will create a ‘dangerous fragmentation of care', and will discriminate against the elderly, infirm and vulnerable, GP leaders have warned.

In a passionate debate at the annual LMCs conference in London, GPs backed a motion condemning the proposals, and said the proposals would also lead to greater medication abuse and hamper GPs' input into children's services.

The coalition Government recently confirmed its intention to proceed with the previous Government's plans to abolish practice boundaries to extend patient choice – although Conservative sources have told Pulse their party does not see it as a priority.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, a GP in Barnstaple and chair of Devon LMC, which proposed the motion, said the votes on boundaries were ‘the most important' of the conference, as they ‘underpinned the very soul of general practice.'

‘This Government must reverse this policy,' he said. ‘If care fragments, it is dangerous, disproportionately affects the neediest, and will allow abusive parents to move freely from practice to practice.'

GPs also passed a separate motion which said the plans would prove ‘extremely costly' when the country ‘can least afford it', would undermine practice-based commissioning, destabilise funding formulas, and add risk to the GP home visiting service.

Dr Shelagh McCormick, a GP in Callington, Cornwall, and member of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LMC, which proposed the motion, said: ‘There are many, many questions, and few answers.‘Commissioning as we know it could not survive without practice boundaries.'

Delegates voted to oppose Government plans to scrap practice boundaries Delegates voted to oppose Government plans to scrap practice boundaries