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Doctors set to vote on GP workload cap and online GP providers

Doctors will be voting on whether a cap should be placed on GP workload in order to protect patient safety and prevent burnout at the BMA’s annual conference later this month.

A second motion also calls for the number of face-to-face GP consultations to be limited to 15 patients per session per GP, and the working day limited to 12 hours.

It follows news that the BMA is planning to draw up guidance on GPs safely managing their workload limits.

In other motions, doctors warn that new online GP providers are undermining general practice by cherry picking patients.

And representatives from Tower Hamlets will say they are ‘alarmed’ by the poor safety record of some online services.

BMA representatives attending the meeting from 25-29 of June will also be asked to cast their view on accountable care organisations, whether the BMC is fit for purpose after the handling of the Dr Bawa-Garba case, and to vote to oppose GPs being involved in checking immigration status (see box).

On the first morning of the meeting, accountable care organisations (ACOs) will be at the top of the agenda with members raising ‘serious concerns’ about their oversight and warning they could be used by the private sector as a way into the NHS.

The Sheffield Division of the BMA will ask the conference to declare no confidence in the GMC as a professional regulatory body after the handling of the Bawa-Garba case and calls for the government to fund the regulator rather than doctors.

Several motions on immigration will raise the issue of doctors acting as ‘border guards’ and call on the BMA to oppose treatment being withheld from long-term residents because of paperwork issues.

This includes a motion from Tower Hamlets which opposes general practice being involved in checking immigration status.

Doctors attending the conference will also hear motions covering issues related to the impact of Brexit on the NHS and its staff including a call on the BMA to announce publicly that it is concerned that Brexit poses a major threat to the NHS and the nation’s health. 

The workload vote comes as Pulse revealed last month that one in six GPs have had to turn away patients for routine appointments due to unsustainable demand.

Motions in full

Workload cap

Gwent and South Powys: That this meeting urges a sensible cap is agreed on the workload of a GP which can be expected to be safely delivered in a day for the safety of patients and the sanity of GPs.

Online providers

Conference of LMCs: That this meeting is concerned that new online GP services are targeting healthy, less complex patients, the funding for whom is partly used to subsidise care for more complex patients on the registered list and calls on the BMA to:

i) demand a stop to the undermining of general practice by private companies who cherry pick the patients to whom they offer services;

ii) demand that online consultation schemes do not become established unless they are prepared to provide a comprehensive package for all patients;

iii) support general practice to explore innovative ways of providing health care;

iv) demand the allocation of additional funds to NHS general practice to provide training, support and appropriate software and hardware in order to establish on line consultation services.


Sheffield: That this meeting, in view of the widespread concerns about the adverse effects of the General Medical Council’s actions in the Bawa-Garba case and its impact on NHS culture and morale:

i) declares that it has no confidence in the GMC as a professional regulatory body;
ii) demands an apology from the GMC over its handling of that case;

iii) calls upon the Chief Executive and Chairman of GMC to resign;
iv) directs the BMA to seek legislative changes to make sure that the government, and not the profession funds the GMC;

v) calls for a public inquiry to review the GMC’s conduct in the Bawa-Garba case.


London Regional Council: That this meeting:-
i) is opposed to the introduction and imposition of insurance-based healthcare systems in the UK;

ii) commends the BMA’s position of opposing accountable care organisations and integrated care systems operating within the current competitive framework in England;

iii) calls for a collaborative universal healthcare system free from market forces and competition;

iv) is concerned that healthcare systems are being created in the UK using non- statutory vehicles without appropriate parliamentary and public scrutiny;

v) insists that there is full consultation with the medical profession, the public and parliamentary representatives on any new healthcare systems for the UK;

vi) demands that any new UK healthcare systems are created only through primary legislation in parliament.


Tower Hamlets: That this meeting:

i) opposes involving general practice in checking immigration status;
ii) calls on GPC to support practices who wish to cross out the supplementary questions (Patient Declaration for all patients who are not ordinarily resident in the UK) on the GMS1 Form;

iii) calls on GPC to insist on the removal of these questions from the GMS 1 Form. 


Sheffield: That this meeting notes the concerns raised in the “BMA Brexit briefings”, also notes that the BMA is non-partisan but that there is a plurality of opinions within political parties on Brexit. We call on the BMA to:

i) support the UK remaining in the European single market;
ii) support open border arrangements with free movement of healthcare and medical research staff;

iii) support the UK remaining a member of Euratom to ensure the protection of supply of radioisotopes;

iv) support the early adoption of the European Clinical Trials Directive in the UK;

v) publicly announce that it is concerned that Brexit poses a major threat to the NHS and the nation’s health;

vi) support the idea of the public having a final say on the Brexit deal, now that more is known regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the NHS and the nation’s health;

vii) oppose Brexit as a whole.

Source: BMA