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‘LMCs are like cockroaches, we’ve survived a nuclear winter, we’ve been around for a century…in another century we’ll still be here representing GPs’

Dr John Hughes, secretary of Manchester LMC

What have been your most memorable achievements for GPs?

The main victory was securing a really good LES during swine flu for doing the vaccines. We actually managed to get them to give us a LES that paid on a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. That took a considerable amount of work, there was lots of negotiation  and lots of resistance to doing that.

What are your biggest challenges at the moment? Are LMCs being involved enough in the NHS reforms?

The biggest challenge at the moment is the NHS reforms. We are definitely not being consulted enough. SHAs, PCTs, everybody appears to be dealing with the CCGs and tending to sideline the LMCs. They seem to be regarding the CCGs as the statutory and accredited representatives of GPs which they certainly aren’t. Trying to get that message across is a big challenge at the moment. Basically, we are not told about anything. They arrange meetings with CCGs and arrange initiatives and major changes without any consultation with the LMC at all. How services are commissioned, the extra chunks of work for GPs without any disc with the LMC as to whether we feel it’s appropriate or whether their should be a LES.

How long has your LMC been around for? What have been its most significant moments?

We have some problems in Manchester because there was a fire in the office in the 60s or 70s so we lost an awful lot of the previous records. We’re not quite sure how long we’ve been around, it’s probably the same as everybody else!

We feel our biggest achievement is maintaining regular liaison meetings and reasonably good relationships with the PCT despite everything that’s been going on. We’ve obviously have had fights with them but we’ve continued to have regular liaison meetings without taking them to court or going completely ballistic.

Why did you want to become involved with your LMC?

I’ve always had an interest in medical politics, in representing the ordinary GP. I’ve been involved since 1997 or 1998. It was within a year of coming to Manchester. Prior to that I’d been involved with locum groups in NI and got on to NI GPC as a locum rep.

Best LMCs conference moment?

I suppose the best conference moment was probably realising last year that the move to Liverpool was inevitable, after many years of Ivan Camphor and Neville Bradley doing their double act of the two scousers.

What do you think the future holds for LMCs?

LMCs are like cockroaches, we’ve survived a nuclear winter, we’ve been around for a century and we’ve seen all sorts of structures pre-NHs and NHS come and go, we’re still here. As far as I’m concerned in another century we’ll still be here representing GPs.

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

We don’t have any specific plans because we are not quite sure of our dates.