This site is intended for health professionals only

Scottish LMCs conference: As it happened

By Steve Nowottny

Full coverage of the Scottish LMCs conference as it unfolded.

Wednesday 10 March

19.25 Welcome to Pulse's live coverage of the 2010 Scottish LMCs conference.

We'll be providing live coverage of the conference when it takes place tomorrow at the Beardmore Conference Centre in Clydebank, near Glasgow, and, Wi-fi permitting, we'lll be regularly updating this page from the conference floor. Check back to this page for the very latest - and if you want to get involved, please leave a comment below.

You can also email me directly at, or follow me on Twitter (@stevenowottny).

Thursday 11 March

07.30 The conference is due to start at 9.15am, but the agenda is already online, and it's a busy one. Although the Scottish LMCs conference sets policy for Scotland's GPs, many of the issues being debated are applicable UK-wide - and many of the votes will foreshadow decisions taken at the UK LMCs conference in June.

Among the highlights, key motions on the patient survey, taking back responsibility for out-of-hours care, the scrapping of practice boundaries, and revalidation.

It'll also be interesting to see how negotiators respond to yesterday's pay award announcement.

10.17 GPC Scotland chair Dr Dean Marshall opens the conference with a keynote speech attacking yesterday's GP pay award.

'Like you I am very disappointed and angry that the Government has decided to overule the recommendatoons of the review body,' he says. 'We're well aware of the financial climate we're in but the DDRB took this into account when making its recommendations.'

Read the full story here.

10.35 Unanimous support for a strongly worded motion condemning the link between GP funding and the access questions on the patient survey.

Dr Graham Brown, a GP from Fife, says his practice lost 20 QOF points on the basis of responses from just 2% of his patients.

'Practices are unfairly penalised despite providing a good service,' he said.

'How financially penalising them is going to improve matters is not entirely clear.'

11.10 A fiercely debated motion - the first of the day - on whether GP should take back responsibility for commissioning out-of-hours care ends frustratingly.

The motion reads 'that this conference rejects the idea floated by some parties to hand back out-of-hours patient care responsibility to GPs and reminds Scottish Government that it is neither safe for the patient nor for the GPs'.

Delegates seem evenly split - but after several argue that the wording of the motion confuses commissioning responsibility with provision, vote overwhelmingly to 'move to next business'. A let-off for the Tories, perhaps...

11.45 Dr Maureen Smith, from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde delegation, makes a striking speech about the violence faced by GPs and staff in some practices - and claims that she's heard 'anecdotal evidence of sex offenders trying to register with all-female practices'.

The motion, which calls for 'a secure system to be put in place to allow practices to be informed when patients with a dangerous and violent background are assigned or try to register with a practice', receives overwhelming support.

12.40 Just before lunch, and the setpiece debate on sharing of patient data is well underway - and the mood in the hall is distinctly uneasy. Lothian GP Dr Sandy Sutherland gives voice to many GPs' unease when he warns: 'This idea that it's somehow going to be secure is absolutely bizarre.'

14.39 We've just had the negotiators' question time - 'any questions on anything, but I reserve the right to veto it if it's boring', offers GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman. He's asked whether there should be a Scottish contract (no, although things might change after the election), if practices have a chance in their patient survey appeals (yes, it's worth a shot) and what he thinks of revalidation plans (initially he was alarmed, but when you look at the detail it's not that bad).

15.01 A bold motion to extend the length of next year's conference from the usual one day to a day and a half, proposed by Glasgow GP Dr Georgina Brown, finds little favour in the hall.

'Who's going to pay for the locums?' asks one delegate. The motion falls.

15.50 A five part motion on revalidation calling for a 'proportionate' approach to revalidation is carried in full - although crucially, the point demanding that 'the costs of remediation are met centrally' is only passed as a reference. Dr Paul Ryan, from Greater Glasgow and Clyde, warns that revalidation poses real problems for some, particularly salaried GPs.

But he's less clear on how imminent those problems will be. 'Revalidation is now two years away,' he says. 'And it's been two years away for the past decade.'

16.10 Dr Elidh Budge from Lothian, a first-time speaker, proposes motion 137, which 'calls on the SGPC to propose solutions to the problems that have arisen since the introduction of the current GP contract and led to GPs being reluctant to offer partnerships to their colleagues. There's general agreement around the hall - although exactly what those solutions might be isn't quite resolved.

16.30 Prize for best-received speech of the day goes to Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Dr Murray Macpherson, who uses two soft toys and a generous dose of humour to make a very serious point about QOF 'box-ticking' encroaching on patient consultations. 'Patients must wonder what on earth is going on in some consultations,' he says.

Motion 146, which states that QOF clinical domains have 'become too numerous and complicated, and have started to have a detrimental mpact on the GP consultation and the doctor-patient relationship', passes due to the strength of his argument - although GPC Scotland chair Dr Dean Marshall can't agree. 'I'm not quite sure what you want me to do with this,' he says.

16.45 And that's it. The Scottish LMCs conference is over for another year. Thanks for reading - and look out for video coverage of Dr Marshall's speech keynote speech tomorrow.

Dr Dean Marshall, chair of GPC Scotland Scottish LMCs agenda