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LMCs urge BMA GP leads to restore dialogue with NHS England


BMA Dr Richard Vautrey


Exclusive A group of LMCs has asked the BMA to restore dialogue with NHS England, Pulse has learned.

In a letter seen by Pulse, nine LMC leaders from across England say while they appreciate the reason for previous action, the ‘current impasse’ is hampering LMCs’ abilities to do their jobs.

The signatories from Northumberland, Lancashire & Cumbria, Humberside, Kent, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Devon, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire LMCs called for a constructive relationship with NHS England in the interests of GPs and patients.

The BMA’s GP Committee voted to pause all meetings with NHS England in May until the disagreement around face-to-face appointments in practices had been resolved after an emergency motion of ‘no confidence’ in NHS England’s executive directors passed overwhelmingly.

But the LMC leaders’ letter said: ‘As a group of LMC lead officers and medical directors, we are writing to encourage GPC to restore dialogue with NHSEI, and to express our support for any actions that may lead to such change.

‘Whilst we appreciate the reasons for the previous action, we believe the current impasse compromises significantly LMCs’ ability to carry out their core functions.’

It continued: ‘We strongly believe that a return to a constructive relationship with NHSEI is essential in the interests of both general practice and, more importantly, the patients we serve.’

William Greenwood, chief executive of Cheshire LMC, told Pulse that the LMCs ‘support the GPC continuing to engage with NHSE at a national level’.

But he added: ‘We also understand their frustration as well at some of the recent actions and frankly abysmal communication (or pointed lack of it) with the general public around the “double” work GPs had been doing in the pandemic in keeping services running and doing Covid vaccinations.’

Michael Wright, chief executive of Nottinghamshire LMC confirmed there had been some communication but did not want to comment further.

NHS England has this month invited the BMA to return to formal meetings in response to which the BMA said it welcomed NHS England’s ‘change in tone’ and said it was keen to ‘build on’ the progress so the organisations can ‘both reform [their] working relationship’.

It comes as a ‘constructive’ meeting between the BMA and NHS England’s new chief executive Amanda Pritchard failed to bring GPs back to negotiations.

The past couple of weeks have seen a surge of newspaper articles criticising GPs on patient access including a column from Allison Pearson in the Telegraph in which she said she is ‘not surprised’ GPs have received a torrent of abuse.

The BMA recently launched a public campaign to rally support for GP practices, including increased Government investment.

The ‘Support Your Surgery’ campaign comes amid rising abuse against GP practices and aims to explain the pressures facing general practice and why it has been difficult for patients to see their GP face to face over the past 18 months.

A BMA spokesperson said they could not comment on any private correspondence but the issue of discussions with NHS England would be discussed at an upcoming GPC meeting.

‘We continue to consider how GPC might work with NHS England going forward, and while the agenda of [the meeting] is confidential it will be an opportunity for the committee to discuss next steps.

‘We will update the wider membership with any developments in due course.’

BMA and RCGP last week wrote to the Telegraph in response to Ms Pearson’s ‘completely unfair’ column in which she said she is ‘not surprised’ GPs have received a torrent of abuse.

On Friday, a piece by Times columnist James Kirkup entitled ‘Generous GP pay isn’t working for patients’ blamed GP earnings for part-time working and early retirement.

READERS' COMMENTS [6]

Decorum Est 2 September, 2021 12:01 pm

GPC wants to get back in bed with NHSE!

The Prime Minister 2 September, 2021 3:17 pm

THE GOVERNMENT HAVE PERSISTED IN ATTACKING GPs VIA THEIR “SILLY” PETS THE DAILY NUTTER AND THE DAILY JERK…HOPING TO DIVERT THE BLAME FOR THE CURRENT STATE OF GENERAL PRACTICE AWAY FROM THEMSELVES AND ONTO US.
THE MEDIA HAVE SO FAR SUGGESTED PAY CUTS, INCITED VIOLENCE AGAINST GPs AND SUGGESTED WE ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND INFERRING PROSECUTING GPs……WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO JOIN GENERAL PRACTICE WHEN WE ARE BEING TERRORISED BY THE GOVERNMENT????

Mr Marvellous 2 September, 2021 3:31 pm

The LMCs should be getting together and solidifying a plan for GPs to work to rule.

If GPs cut out even 50% of the stuff they did over and above the contract “for free” secondary care would be on its knees within a few weeks.

Chris GP 2 September, 2021 3:53 pm

Other than those working in primary care – there is a consistent refusal from anyone, NHSE included, – to accept that the issue is workload and red tape. The system has been crippled by layer upon layer of bureaucracy coupled with heightened expectation and a sense of entitlement. GPs and other staff are leaving because the job sucks. It can not be done when full time means 11 + hour days run ragged from start to finish, unable to actually do the job you trained for, taking constant abuse from the general public – some of whom should frankly be ashamed of themselves. If some sectors want to think it is all because I get too much money – that’s fine, pay me less. I will leave even earlier. Less pay for a sh*t job makes it an even sh*ttier job. If NHSE can’t apologise for their behaviour and start to demonstrate some insight into all this – I can’t see how negotiating with them is in any way useful.

Turn out The Lights 2 September, 2021 5:42 pm

You cant negotiate with a bully you need to hit them so they think before they try and bully you again.The problem over the past 10 years no one in the BMA,LMcs RCGP et al have stood up to the bully.We therefore get more and more abused, and very soon the LMCs will have none to represent or pay there sub either.They need to take a side and sand up to be counted .Being nicey nicey has not got us anywhere.

Paul Cundy 2 September, 2021 9:32 pm

Dear All,
Is that list of LMCs not a small proportion of all LMCs? Maybe 10%. So when will see the article Titled “90% of LMCs do NOT want to return……”
Regards
Paul C