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LMCs call for legal commissioning role

By Ellie Broughton

Exclusive: GP leaders have called for LMCs to be given a statutory role in overseeing GP commissioning, as a series of motions to this year's LMCs conference tackle the implications of the Government's NHS reforms.

Two motions submitted for debate by Birmingham LMC suggest LMCs should be given an official role to balance the increasing power of GP consortia.

One instructs the GPC ‘to negotiate that LMCs should have a statutory function in relation to commissioning, performance, premises provision, list management, prescribing and certification', while a second argues LMCs should be handed 'statutory functions in relation to membership of consortia and governance of NHS commissioning'.

Dr Robert Morley, secretary of Birmingham LMC, said the two motions were a bid to restore LMCs' historical statutory functions which were lost after the 1990 NHS reforms and then the new GP contract in 2004.

'We feel that LMCs have a vital role to play in scrutinising these organisations,' he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the NHS Future Forum panel was considering the provision of statutory powers to LMCs as part of its discussions on the health bill.

The NHS reforms look set to be widely debated again at the LMCs conference, despite the BMA holding a Special Representative Meeting to discuss the plans in March.

Additional motions on the reforms include one from Liverpool LMC warning the health bill may lead to greater privatisation, and one from Devon LMC insisting that members of consortium boards are elected by all GPs in that consortium's locality.

Other motions are expected to cover pay, pensions and GP training.

Dr Robert Morley