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LMCs call for indemnity reimbursement and sustainability review

Welsh GP leaders are calling on the Government to incentivise all GP practices to carry out a sustainability review.

Delegates at the annual Welsh LMCs Conference voted unanimoustly for a motion expressing deep concern at the working conditions in primary care, and calling on the Welsh government to collect information to clarify the seriousness of the situation.

Wales GPC chair Dr Charlotte Jones, who spoke at the conference held in Newport on Saturday, said she wanted practices to be more proactive in assessing future risks.

She said: ‘This is about moving away from crisis management to practices thinking about this ahead of time.’

One option would be to include it in the cluster domain in the QOF to give practices resources to think about their future, she added.

She said: ‘It doesn’t take much, it is about giving practices the space and framework for thinking about it.’

Dr Meredydd Owen Cox, Dyfed Powys LMC, told the conference that there was a reticence among struggling practices to admit they may be failing and submit sustainability applications to health boards.

Having to share financial information at an early stage of the process was a disincentive he said.

‘I would like the conference to take steps to simplify the process and make it more user friendly,’ he said.

Dr Jones said they were also looking at streamlining the process.

‘We are looking at putting into the contract that all practices do this, possibly across a cluster so they can see what the challenges are.’

At the same conference, LMCs also voted that medical indemnity should be directly funded by the NHS.

GPC leaders responded that it was a very complicated issue but they were committed to finding the right solution for Wales.

Several options are under review including GP practices becoming NHS organisations and being covered under the Welsh risk pool, Dr Jones explained.

A funding uplift announced at the conference by Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething included a contribution towards the rising costs of professional indemnity, but the GPC branded this ‘a sticking plaster’.

At the same conference, Dr Jones expressed plans to start work on a new Welsh GP contract, while Mr Gething announced the terms of the 2017/18 Welsh GP contract.

Key votes passed at the Welsh LMCs Conference

That Conference:

i. expresses deep concern at working conditions in primary care which lead to excellent GPs leaving the profession for alternative careers

ii. calls on Welsh government to collect information to clarify the seriousness of this situation and inform future preventative action

Themed debate question: Should GPC Wales propose the direct funding of medical indemnity costs?