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LMCs support creation of primary care networks

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LMCs have shown their support for the creation of primary care networks in England. 

Delegates at the LMC conference today in Belfast voted against a motion stipulating that the development of primary care networks will not improve general practice and undermine the autonomy of GPs.

Networks form a central part of the new contract in England, yet there are still some concerns over how they will be formed and potential CCG pressure.

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland board member Dr Ravij Wadhwa – who proposed the motion – said so-called clinically-led statutory NHS bodies such as primary care trusts (PCTs) and CCGs have failed to put GPs at the heart of the organisation and fell under NHS auspices.

He said: ’I’ve seen practices being coerced into joining somebody that they don’t want to work with or broken up from those that they have got worked well with for a very long time.

’A certain degree of independence to change, adapt, evolve and improve in order to provide better services, is at risk. Where is the reassurance that after getting a tight handle and all funding of the primary care networks that NHS England will not dictate how the primary care networks work like they did in fact in PCTs and CCGs?’

He added: ’I’m not here to argue that we should stop the process, it’s too late for that, but conference I move that we acknowledge and record that there’s a big risk that it will not improve general practice and be conscious that our autonomy and contracts are at huge risks so that we can assess, plan and prepare to mitigate these risks.’

Speaking against the motion, Dr John McGrath from Islington LMC said he believes networks could be an opportunity to improve patient care.

He said: ’The mandate to form primary care networks is new but the idea is not. It’s a plan to mobilise teams of people around real life patients and real life communities of people with the financial characters and stakes that are needed to make this happen.

’It’s an opportunity for collectors of GMS and other contracts within practices to get together and work for the needs of their local community. I cannot believe that this is going to be a bad thing. I have to believe that this is an opportunity to improve the care we provide.’

Motion in full

That conference believes that the development of primary care networks:

(i) will not improve general practice LOST

(ii) will undermine the autonomy of general practitioners LOST