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‘Battles are often destructive and winning a battle can mean losing the war’

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs

What have been your most memorable achievements for GPs?

I have tried to move the organisation from one that looks for victories and avoids defeats.  Battles are often destructive and winning a battle can mean losing the war! Probably the most important thing I have achieved is developing a culture of positive engagement and influence, which is built  on mutual respect, common sense and being able to deliver on agreements reached.  Leading the profession at a local level is often about doing the right thing not always the popular thing.  The LMC has become a respected body with significant influence, is consulted on many issues that are outside its statutory functions and is frequently contacted by individuals or organisations who seek help and advice about policies and strategies that might have an impact on general practice.

How long has your LMC been around for?

 We have found some minutes going back to that late 1940’s but I am aware there was a committee of  Panel doctors locally in the early 1920’s

What have been its most significant moments?

Impossible to answer, so much has changed. It’s all part of a process that builds into a bigger picture.

What are your biggest challenges at the moment?

Interesting question, probably to support GPs and practices entering a period of great uncertainty with NHS change on a backdrop of rising demand and falling income.

Are LMCs being involved enough in the NHS reforms?

Very involved with CCGs, PCT cluster, SHA cluster and helping translate policy into understandable language for GPs.

Why did you want to become an LMC leader?

Why is an interesting question, I always enjoyed leading and influencing change.

What do you think the future holds for LMCs?

I see a bright future for LMCs, they will be needed as much as now if not more.  We support GPs and practices as providers, we have the organisational memory. Practices who need help get some of this currently from PCTs when they don’t exist they will be coming to LMCs. Our experience is one’s colleagues can be harder on each other than PCTs are – so real risk of conflict and tension, LMC will be asked to support and resolve

Do you have any plans to celebrate the 100 year anniversary?

We are not having a dinner – we have looked to have a campaign of promoting general practice to the widest population. There will be a 100 years bulletin.