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LMCs’ crisis summit scheduled for 30 January

Exclusive The special LMC conference called by the GPC has been scheduled to take place on Saturday 30 January in London, and is set to discuss the future of the GP contract.

The conference will be chaired by Cambridgeshire LMC chief executive Dr Guy Watkins and focus around the strap line ’what actions are needed to ensure GPs can deliver a safe and sustainable service?’

Writing to local members, Dr Watkins’ LMC warned that ’there will be some difficult debates, and some disagreements’, including on whether to support the ’new models of care’ promoted by NHS England, or to continue with funding linked to a secure patient list. 

It also said issues included the NHS ‘giving up’ on supporting GPs amid rising costs.

The LMC said: ’The conference is being called now because of a belief by LMCs and the GPC that current Government and NHS England policy and negotiations over contract changes for 2016 fail to address these issues and the risk to a safe and sustainable service for our patients is intolerable.’

The BMA held a similar LMCs summit in 2003, which helped pave the way to the new contract agreed in 2004.

The GPC voted to schedule an ‘unprecedented’ crisis meeting at its last monthly meeting and Pulse revealed that there were calls from within the GPC to exit ongoing 2015/16 GP contract negotiations until after the meeting when there was more clarity around the direction of travel.

However, despite these concerns, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ’Negotiations are ongoing and will conclude if we can reach an acceptable agreement.’

GP contract negotiations are still at an early stage due to the Government only completing a comprehensive spending review last week, but Pulse has learned Government proposals include a DES to form practice networks and deliver seven-day access as well as the possiblity of QOF being scrapped entirely.

Pulse has also revealed that the GPC is pushing for a longer-term deal and an end to ‘annual tinkering’ with the contract.

Please note: This article was corrected at 13:45 to reflect that Dr Guy Watkins is chairing the conference and not Dr Simon Poole.