This site is intended for health professionals only

Welsh GP leaders to ‘urgently consider’ industrial action

Welsh GP leaders to ‘urgently consider’ industrial action

BMA Wales’ GP Committee has been given a mandate to ‘urgently consider’ industrial action across general practice.

Attendees at the Welsh LMCs conference over the weekend passed a motion which ‘deplores the failure of the Welsh Government’ to negotiate a GP contract for this financial year.

Contract talks between the GP Committee for Wales (GPCW), the Welsh Government and NHS Wales broke down in October last year.

However, last month both parties ‘mutually decided’ to end negotiations despite being unable to reach agreement, and a total of £20m was invested into the GMS contract, which is 4.4% of the contract value of £450m.

Now, local GP leaders have called on the BMA to consider ‘meaningful industrial action’ in response.

The conference also passed a motion asking GPCW to explore ‘what GP practices might consider stopping doing’ in order to remain viable.

On future GMS contracts, local GP leaders called for expenses to be ‘funded 100%’ and for allowances to cover national and minimum wage increases.

A successful vote on workforce insisted that the Welsh Government avoids making ‘the mistake of the English DoH’ by restricting additional funding to ‘only some professional groups’, as is the case with ARRS funding.

In his speech to LMC leaders, GPCW chair Dr Gareth Oelmann said ‘time is running out’ and reiterated that the recent contract agreement is ‘sub-inflationary’ and ‘inadequate’.

‘The Welsh Government continue to state, “they have no money”. Therefore, I challenge them to use the taxpayer’s pound more effectively and take stock of priorities,’ he said.

Dr Oelmann told attendees of his warning to ministers: ‘Recognise the value of General Practice, do not undervalue our worth. But if you continue to actively devalue GMS, the consequences are plain for all to see.’

GPC Wales has meanwhile launched surveys on practice finance and GP workload, workforce and wellbeing, both of which will inform the next round of contract negotiations.

The GP contract uplift for this financial year included a 5% pay rise for all general practice staff, backdated to April 2023, which is below the 6% pay rise for salaried GPs and practice staff in England.

Along with calls for industrial action, LMC leaders also passed a motion calling for contract changes to ‘be negotiated well in advance of 1st April’ and ‘implemented on time’, unlike this year’s process.

Last summer, GPC Wales launched its Save Our Surgeries campaign which called for an ‘urgent rescue package’ from the Welsh Government to save general practice from collapsing. 

And a BMA petition calling for the rescue package received over 21,500 signatures.

Highlight motions

5. Welsh Government are currently unwilling to fairly fund the Unified contract. Conference asks GPCW to urgently discuss what GP practices might consider stopping doing in order to maintain services that can be resourced. PASSED

6. That this conference deplores the failure of the Welsh Government to negotiate the unified contract for 2023-24 and calls on the BMA to urgently consider meaningful industrial action in primary care. PASSED

10. Conference calls for all GMS contract changes to: negotiated well in advance of 1st April each year and implemented on time. implemented only after all guidance for contract changes has been agreed and is available to practices to enable reasonable business decisions and implementation. PASSED

13. To avoid practice collapse and principal pay erosion conference calls for changes to the way the GMS pay offer is calculated with regard to:

i. the staff component which often exceeds the 40% used historically.

ii. allowances for the national and minimum wage increases.

iii. expenses being funded 100% in future contract agreements. PASSED

24. Conference asks that GPCW explore alternative models of primary care given that Welsh Government have failed to provide the necessary rescue package to ensure the survival of GMS. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

44. That this conference is supportive of any additional funding coming to expand the skill mix in general practice but:

i. insists that Wales should not make the mistake of the English DoH and restrict it to supporting only some professional groups.

ii. urges reversal of the decision to change the world recognised title of Physician Assistant to Physician Associate, which can only lead to confusion amongst patients. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY




Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

John Glasspool 12 March, 2024 9:33 am