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LMCs to debate mass resignation from NHS unless ‘rescue package’ is agreed

The LMCs special conference will debate the possibility of the GPC requesting undated resignations from all GPs if a rescue package for general practice is not concluded within six months.

The agenda, however, has devoted no time to the possibility of strike action – despite several LMCs submitting motions on such a debate.

Delegates will also debate whether general practice should become a fully salaried service.

The special conference will take place in London on 30 January, and will be the first such conference to take place since 2013.

It was announced after pressure from LMCs to look into the sustainability of general practice, and the chair of the GPC said the calling of the conference isa ‘reflection of the untenable situation’.

LMCs submitted upwards of a 1,000 motions.

The final debate of the day will be the motion on undated resignations, submitted by Buckinghamshire, which calls for the GPC to enter negotiations with the Government around a ’rescue package’ for general practice.

The motion states that if negotiations with the Government are not concluded by August this year, then the GPC should consider ’what work/services must cease to reduce the workload to ensure safe and sustainable care for patients’.

Alongside this, the GPC should request resignations from the current NHS contracts from all GPs, it says.

Pulse revealed last month that almost half of GPs support mass resignation from the NHS in protest at the current state of general practice.

However, the conference will not necessarily vote on industrial action beyond the call from Buckinghamshire for the GPC to identify ’actions that GPs can undertake without breaching their contracts’, despite a number of LMCs submitting motions on the issue.

Previously, GP leaders have indicated that industrial action in the form of a strike would not be possible, because there was no specific reason for such action – unlike in the dispute between junior doctors and the Government over contract negotiations, for example.

Elsewhere on the agenda, a motion from Leeds LMC calls on practices to be given funding of £200 per patient per year, noting that the average £141 per patient funding ’is wholly inadequate to provide a safe, sustainable and responsive service that meets the growing needs of their patients’. 

Other motions to be debated include:

  • GPs must have the right to call for the NHS to ’take on the head lease role of any GP premises’;
  • The GPC ’actively campaigns to abolish the regulation of general practice by the CQC’ and produce an alternative to the CQC regime of inspections;
  • For revalidation to be suspended and the frequency of appraisals to be reduced;
  • Concern at the ‘intensity’ that GPs are working and calling for a 48 hour per week maximum and a reduction in core hours;
  • Separate contractual arrangements for home visits, vaccinations and patients in care homes;
  • Reduced bureaucracy for GP returners scheme;
  • Increasing the duration of GP appointments to at least 15 minutes.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, said: ‘GPs’ first priority is their patients. They want to be able to provide enough time and appointments and ensure every member of the public who comes through their practice door gets a safe, high quality service.

’The calling of this special conference is a reflection of the untenable situation where relentless workload pressures, soaring demand and funding cuts has meant that GPs are prevented from providing this high standard of care.’

Dr Chris Hewitt, chief executive of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland LMC, said that a rescue package could include a ‘ten point action plan’ to ‘stop the CQC over night, and an urgent review of the burden of bureaucracy and regulation on GPs. Because that could instantly slash the two or three hours that most GPs are wasting each day on paperwork and peddling computer codes.’

What LMCs will vote on

That conference instructs GPC that should negotiations with government for a rescue package for general practice not be concluded successfully within 6 months of the end of this conference:

(i) actions that GPs can undertake without breaching their contracts must be identified to the profession

(ii) a ballot of GPs should be considered regarding what work/ services must cease to reduce the workload to ensure safe and sustainable care for patients

(iii) undated resignations from the current NHS contracts held by GPs should be requested.

Read the agenda in full here