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Local GP leaders demand apology from BMA over ‘failure’ of rescue package



LMC leaders have demanded an apology from the BMA’s GP Committee at their annual conference, after suggesting it contributed to GP practices closing by its ‘inaction’.

A number of motions submitted to the annual LMCs Conference, due to take place 18-19 May, criticise the GPC for inaction to help the profession, with some going as far as demanding ‘a written apology’ from the GPC for the ‘failure’ to provide respite to pressured and underfunded services.

Others call for a ballot of grassroots for mass resignation and other forms of industrial action, following similar motions last year.

Doncaster LMC said that the GPC ‘ignored’ instructions to ballot the profession on submitting mass undated resignation, following last year’s LMCs Conferences.

The critical motions have not been chosen for guaranteed debate, but local leaders will be able to vote for them to be debated at conference.

The motion comes after Pulse recently revealed that GP practice closures have actually worsened in the past year, with a 150% rise in patients forced to move GP practices.

In January last year, a special LMCs Conference called on the GPC to ballot the profession on mass resignation unless a rescue package was forthcoming from NHS England.

Three months later, NHS England implemented its ‘GP Forward View’, which committed £2.4bn extra per year to general practice, along with a £500m ’emergency package’ designed to increase recruitment and stave off practice closures.

But in a further conference in June, LMC leaders said that more was needed – including the implementation of measures outlined in GPC’s ‘Urgent Prescription for General Practice’, such as ensuring GPs work within safe limits and longer appointments – and that the BMA should ballot GPs on resignation unless NHS England took action.

However, the GPC dropped these plans after claiming that NHS England was considering the measures in its Urgent Prescription.

But Pulse last month revealed that almost half of GPs continue to support mass resignation.

And now a number of LMCs, including Brent, Avon and Doncaster, are criticising GPC for its approach. 

Doncaster LMC’s motion says: ‘That Conference demands a written apology from the GPC in recognition of the failure of GPC and NHSE to produce and deliver a rescue package mandated by the Emergency Conference of LMCs in 2016, thereby contributing through inaction to the closure of a number of practices across the UK.’

The LMC’s medical secretary Dr Dean Eggitt told Pulse: ‘I’m still unhappy with how the GPC executive are working with NHS England and the Department of Health on the GP Forward View when their mandate from Conference was to deliver a rescue package or trigger a vote on willingness for undated resignations.

‘There has now been widespread acceptance that the GP Forward View is not a rescue package but is a strategy to transform general practice into something that might be more efficient, effective and sustainable. So, in my opinion GPC has ignored the will of conference and taken its own path.’

A BMA spokesperson said: “Given the enormous pressures facing general practice it is understandable that many GPs are frustrated. They have to deal every day with the practical effects of rising patient demand, stagnating budgets and staff shortages on their practice and patient care.

‘Since the 2016 LMC conference, the BMA’s GP committee have secured an agreement for the government to accept the provisions of our successful campaign, An Urgent Prescription for General Practice. This includes action to stop unnecessary work being transferred from hospitals to local GP services – backed by robust BMA guidance issued to GPs – additional funding to overstretched GP practices, CQC fee reimbursements and improved sickness arrangements for GPs.

‘There is still a great deal of work to be done and we are continuing to press the government to deliver key elements of these commitments after unacceptable delays and go further in delivering the support that general practice desperately needs. At this year’s general election we need politicians to face these problems head on and not duck the key challenges facing patient care.’

Doncaster LMC’s proposed motion in full

That Conference demands a written apology from the GPC in recognition of the failure of GPC and NHSE to produce and deliver a rescue package mandated by the Emergency Conference of LMCs in 2016, thereby contributing through inaction to the closure of a number of practices across the UK.

Source: Doncaster LMC