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LMCs to vote on practices declaring ‘shutdowns’ in times of system stress

GP leaders are set to vote on whether they can declare ‘major incidents’ and ‘capacity shutdowns’, similar to A&E departments, at the LMCs Conference tomorrow.

LMCs from across the UK will also vote on whether to move to a salaried only service, and whether the QOF should be scrapped.

The morning session will also see a motion on whether there should be a ‘staff grade’ of GP, who could practise independently without having passed the MRCGP exam.

The motion on practice shutdowns, proposed by the Devon conference region, demands that practices should be able to declare major incidents and capacity shutdowns in a similar manner to A&E, supported by equal access to emergency resources at times of system stress.

Currently hospitals are able to declare ‘major’ or ‘significant’ incidents, for example when A&E departments struggle to cope, as happened in the 2014-15 winter, when planned operations were cancelled and patients were told to attend A&E only in extreme emergency.

The same motion also calls for practices to have the right to close their list when they decide that it is unsafe to take on more patients, and that they should receive increased funding to be able to offer standard consultation times of 15 minutes.

The motion on whether general practice should become salaried only will also be debated tomorrow.

The Liverpool conference region proposes that ‘the model of the self-employed independent practitioner has been so eroded by the current contract and regulatory regime, that the GPC should be exploring the establishment of a fully costed and salaried GP service’.

A motion from the Gloucestershire conference region suggests that patient care would be improved if practices were allowed to offer ‘top up’ private services to their NHS patients. The motion requests that the GPC include this in contract negotiations.

Elsewhere, a motion from the Cleveland conference region proposes that the QOF is unfit for purpose and ‘should be scrapped with the money transferred into the global sum’.

One of the suggestions to boost GP recruitment is to introduce a ‘staff grade’ of GP. This grade of staff would be able to practise safely independently even though they had not reached the standard of the MRCGP exam.

Read the agenda in full here