16:58 As this year’s annual GP bunfight draws to a close, GPs begin to file out en masse from the Mermaid centre. It’s been a highly charged event, with the profession venting its anger on a host of issues. But it was on possibly the most emotive topic of all that GPs stepped back from their tubthumping and edged away from the precipice. It’s worth noting that many actually left before the crucial pensions vote. Of course they could have all had trains to catch, but perhaps this also reflects conflicting feelings about the issue. GPs are clearly up in arms about plans to attack their pensions, but calls too leave the door open for strike action were deemed unpalatable to most, who are anxious to retain their position among patients and the public at large.
16.03 The key vote on GP pensions, and whether the GPC should ‘resist by all possible means, including the option of industrial action and resignation, any further attempt to renegotiate the GP pension scheme’. Delegates reject the motion.
15.15 Blimey. The Scousers’ pitch worked. Motion passed, so it looks like we’re off to Liverpool next year.
That’s true democracy at work – 2011 is truly the year of the uprising. We’ve had Egypt, Tunisia, Libya… and now this. Whatever happened to good old fashioned dictatorships?! The BMA Press Office is not amused…and given this conference is four minutes from Pulse Towers, neither are we.
15:05 Dr Andrew Taylor also wants the conference in Liverpool. ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’. Nice touch Doctor T. But he also said, ‘I am the Eggman, I am the Walrus’, so I’m not sure who to believe.
15:04 Calm down, calm down. A couple of plastic scousers from Mid Mersey, complete with comedy wigs, have just appeared on stage to make the case for Liverpool to host the LMCs conference next year. Utter bemusement grips the hall. Drs Nev Bradley and Ivan Camphor evantually de-wig in order to make a ‘serious’ case for Liverpool. No, really.
14:50 Unanimous vote to retain UK-wide contract. Although GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey admitted it might be a struggle as a single contract was ‘not on the table at the moment’ in discussions with Government.
Full motion below:
Conference believes that any single contract must:
i) be a UK contract. CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
ii) ensure that the rights of GMS contractors to a permanent contract, without any end date, are enshrined in any agreement. CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
iii) ensure that neither MPIG or seniority payments are undermined, reduced or lost. CARRIED
iv) consider the rights and needs of PMS and APMS contractors as well as those of GMS contractors. CARRIED
v) be a product of proper and adaquate consultation of the profession prior to any agreement. CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
12.25 The auditorium has sprung a leak. That’s the auditorium of the Mermaid Conference Centre, natch.
12.21 Reports from charities have near-emptied the auditorium. Pizza Express calls…
12.10 Call handlers working for the new 111 urgent care service spend an average of 20 minutes per call, according to research from Dr Chaudhry.
‘It’s increasing hugely our workload and it’s also causing lots of confusion amongst patients,’ he tells conference.
Dr Taylor, from Liverpool LMC, brings a bit of humour to a fairly dry topic. Will call-handlers be trained on Scouse slang or will his patients’ ‘birds’ croak it while they wait for care?
12.00 One from earlier that slipped through the net – conference rejected a motion that called for revalidation to be put on hold while the current austerity programme continues to impact on patient services.
Dr Terry John, the GPC’s lead on revalidation, urged GPs not to support the motion, arguing it would not be helpful in helping the GPC achieve the proportionate and slimmed-down version of revalidation that they are moving towards with the GMC.
‘We have been having some success with the GMC. This motion doesn’t really help us at all,’ he says. GPs oblige. Motion lost. Read the full story here: GP leaders reject call to scrap revalidation
11.57 – Motion 390 – ‘that conference believes funding for general practice computers and software should be returned to general practitioners’ – is lost.
On to motion 391. Dr Cox, from Hertfordshire LMC, is showboating. He says of part three – about GP-consultant communication – that he’d love to use his iPhone to get in touch with consultants. But apparently it would be quicker for him to jump in his Audi and drive to hospital.
Dr Morris, from North Wales, also speaks against part three. He doesn’t flash his iPhone but he is keen to point out that he raised this concern in a previous conference’s ‘Soapbox’. Pulse journalists undecided which GP scores more points.
11.47 – On to IT systems. Dr Wilkinson from West Sussex says that GPSoC has ‘little bark, and very little bite’ and wants to swap a ‘chihuahua’ of a situation for an Alsatian. Dogged by dodgy metaphors this year, no?
11.43 – Last motion on patient registration. Conference votes for a motion that it is not GPs’ responsibility to be ‘the gatekeepers to NHS care for overseas visitors’. But part of the same motion arguing that ‘other than for newborn babies, first registration and assessment of eligibility for NHS treatment should be carried out somewhere other than general practice’ is lost.
11.40 Medical director of Londonwide LMCs Dr Tony Grewal gets a warm reception for his motion deploring the current list cleansing initiatives – GPs vote in agreement and request GPC negotiate a fair national policy for list validation. See story: PCT wipes 38000 patients from GP lists in ‘appalling’ list-cleansing drive
11.00 Tense electronic vote on whether the Government should set a realistic minimum contract price per head of population to prevent underfunding in out-of-hours care. And the verdict is… carried. Eat your heart out, Chris Tarrant. Final answer?
10:45 Dr Buckman, ever the face of sobriety, has donned a Moe and Homer Simpson tie today.
10.40 Unpopular motion here, suggesting there should be a ‘contractual obligation for GPs to be available for out-of-hours service for a significant proportion of their career as a GP’.
Fireworks are flying as Dr Fay Wilson urges LMCs to throw the motion out, as ‘we don’t want a conscripted army….and we don’t want any of you clapped-out, middle-aged blokes’.
Which coincidentally segways into a classic intervention from GPC negotiator Peter Holden, who wades in with a few hefty blows.
‘Over my dead body will you pass this motion! Chuck this one out!’ he bellows. The LMC delegates oblige, probably wisely as it means they avoid the wrath of Dr Holden. Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. Motion lost. Dr Peter Holden spoke to us about the feeling at the conference on pensions and the health bill. Watch the video here
10.25 Dr Michael Ingram wishes a happy birthday to Prince Phillip, which is met with a smattering of comedy boos. A few republicans in the room clearly. Either that or some representatives of some of the many nations the Duke has offended over the years…
10.02 After the shock vote to abolish the CQC, GPs settle down to slightly more prosaic matters. Debate going on about prescribing, here’s the verdict…
Motion 334. Conference believes health policy is inconsistent when doctors are..
i) asked to screen and treat more patients yet refer less. CARRIED
ii) given quality of care guidelines yet and told to reduce the cost of the drugs they prescribe when following them. CARRIED
iii) unfairly criticised for using high cost efficacious medications when the NHS price has previously been agreed between the DH and the pharmaceutical manufactuer. CARRIED
09.40 GPs do not back a motion saying QOF causes polypharmacy, but in a close vote, declare that the framework does cause iatrogenic illnesses, such as falls in old people
09.30 LMC leaders have dramatically called for the CQC to be abolished after declaring it a ‘thoroughly ineffective organisation’. See full story: GP representatives vote to abolish ‘thoroughly ineffective’ CQC
09.20 Family Doctor Association chair Dr Peter Swinyard is feeling energetic this morning with some star jumps on stage, no idea why.
THURSDAY 9 JUNE
17:00 End of an action-packed day on the conference floor today, but join us tomorrow for key votes on pensions, CQC and revalidation. If you have any comments on the day’s events, then feel free to comment below.
16:10 Conference calls for the reintroduction of a nationally funded scheme that allows GPs who have taken a career break to reenter general practice with supervision, support and a salary.
15.46 ‘The Welsh are making us look bad. That hasn’t been said since the 1970s,’ says Dr Tom Black from Northern Ireland. Think that was a rugby reference that just went over our heads.
15:39 Motion 246. That conference:
i) is concerned about the rising disparity in the quality of GP training schemes. CARRIED AS REFERENCE
ii) is concerned about the quality of training received by some GPs in their hospital training posts. CARRIED AS REFERENCE
iii) expects deaneries to intervene where necessary to ensure that high standards if GP training are maintained. CARRIED
iv) expects deaneries to rectify any deficiencies in GP training wherever these are highlighted. CARRIED
v) demands that GPs in training are properly equipped with the skills and understanding to be effective commisisoners. CARRIED
15:29 Now conference moves to discuss GP education and training. Dr Michelle Drage has asked conference to do more than ‘ask’ the GPC to save the deaneries.
15:08 Unanimous vote that forthcoming healthcare reforms should ‘address existing inequalities in levels of core practice funding’
14:43 Sounds like Feargul Sharkey and Tom Jones have turned up too, as GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Brian Dunn and GPC Wales chair Dr David Bailey receive equally vociferous applause. Conference chair Dr Mary Church calls for a ‘clapometer’.
14.33 GPC Scotland chair Dr Dean Marshall gets a series of whoops and cheers as he comes on stage. Do they think they’re at a Rod Stewart gig or something?
14.26 GPs opt to move to next business in a motion that argued any willing provider was less damaging than competitive tendering. GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey says this will avoid ‘mixed messages’ after the unanimous panning of AWP in the previous motion. Stealthily avoided…
14.24 Delegates vote unanimously for a change in Monitor’s role – ‘away from promoting competition to promoting cooperation with commissionings in seeking more cost and clinically effective services’.
14.18 What comedy cartoon dog is Dr Laurence Buckman sporting on his tie? Either Pluto or Scooby Doo, apparently – it’s all in the ears.
14.01 It’s back to the conference floor after an hour’s break for lunch.
13.49 GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has been spotted enjoying a well-earned bit of pizza round the corner at Harry’s Pizzeria, according to our man on Doncaster LMC.
13.29 Our reporter Laura Passi has filed this story on the health bill debate this morning: GP leaders vote for substantial changes to health bill.
13.01 And the conference breaks for lunch.
12.44 A mention in passing for Pulse’s investigation earlier this week revealing that half of the members of some consortium boards have links to Virgin Group.
Dr Russell Brown, on Twitter, is unimpressed. ‘Hang on, don’t quote Pulse, they should quote us!’ he tweets.
12.02 Here are the full set of results from the two key votes on the health bill.
On motion 29:
That conference in respect of the Health and Social Care Bill:
(i) believes it poses the greatest threat to the NHS since its inception CARRIED
(ii) believes the current proposals will compromise the health of the nation and endanger patients due to the scale and pace of change CARRIED
(iii) believes it will fragment the NHS CARRIED
(iv) believes the proposals are unworkable and GPs should no longer co-operate with introducing the changes LOST
(v) requests GPC to ballot all GPs in England as to whether they are happy to be in GP commissioning consortia. LOST
And on motion 41:
That conference believes that the proposed changes in the Health and Social Care Bill:
(i) are a fundamental threat to the overriding duty of doctors to put the needs of their patients first CARRIED
(ii) pose a grave risk of GPs losing the trust of their patients and the public CARRIED
(iii) must be clarified, particularly to determine whether a GP’s primary responsibility will be to the patient in front of him/her or to the commissioning consortia CARRIED
(iv) must be amended to remove any mechanism that appears to offer inducements to doctors to make financially motivated decisions about an individual patient’s care. CARRIED
11:49 LMC leaders vote that health bill must clarify whether a GP’s primary responsibility is to patients or to commissioning consortia, and must be amended to remove any mechanism that would force GPs to make ‘financially motivated decisions’ about patient care.
11:41 GPs hold back from total non-co-operation with NHS reforms, but do declare them ‘greatest threat to NHS since its inception’ and that they will ‘compromise the health of the nation and endanger patients’.
11:28 Dr Buckman trying to dissaude GPs from calling for a GPC ballot on whether GPs want to be memers of consortia, because listening exercise is still going on. ‘Now is not the time for these things’, he says.
11:24 Debate hotting up on health bill. A rare voice of support from Dr Ivan Camphor, who says the bill presents a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’. But Dr Paul Hobday says: ‘We must fight this bill, amendments won’t do.’
11:01 Debate on the health bill going on now. Although there’s not much debate really going on. GPs seem to be unamimously fed up about it. Not much positivity I’m afraid Mr Cameron – GPs remain sceptical and need to be won over.
10:49 Londonwide LMCs chair Dr Michelle Drage describes Dr Laurence Buckman’s speech as ‘his best ever’.
10:19 Dr Buckman receives a standing ovation from the hall after a barn-storming speech. Click here to read the full text of Dr Laurence Buckman’s speech
10:17 Dr Buckman: ‘We will not forgive these attempts to damage the pensions for which we have worked and paid’. Another large round of applause.
10:11 Dr Buckman on getting rid of practice boundaries: ‘Why don’t governments listen? Deafness? Ear wax’.
10:08 On the quality premium, Dr Buckman says: ‘GPs will not take money for reducing care for patients – this is utterly unethical’. Cue biggest applause yet.
10.00 Dr Buckman’s speech is going down very well in the auditorium, and he’s deploying his own personal rhetorical style to good effect. ‘Shared working and pathways? Yes. But the vista suggested by some hospital chief executives, that GPs should be employed by foundation hospitals? No.’
09.55 GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman’s keynote speech to delegates is underway. The BMA does not support ‘unfettered extension of private involvement in the NHS’, he says to applause.
09.30 The conference is about to get underway. There’s a change of venue this year – we’re at the Mermaid Conference Centre near Blackfriars in central London.
09.20 Three Pulse reporters are covering the event today – Gareth Iacobucci, Laura Passi and Ellie Broughton will be providing live updates from the conference floor, and we’re also hoping to bring you video and analysis later in the day.
09.00 Welcome to Pulse’s live coverage of the 2011 LMCs annual conference, which will see several hundred GPs from across the country gather in central London over the next two days.
LMCs conference live blog