The BMA’s annual representatives’ meeting (ARM) is set to debate NHS England’s ‘negative briefings’ suggesting GP practices were ‘shut’ during the pandemic.
A motion, to be proposed by the North West Regional Council, demands that NHS England ‘cease and desist from negative briefings’ about GP practices.
It comes as Pulse revealed last week that a ‘constructive’ meeting between the BMA and NHS England’s new chief executive has failed to bring GPs back to negotiations, following an ongoing row over suggestions that practices were closed.
The motion reads: ‘This meeting recognises that primary care did not shut during the pandemic, but appropriately changed working practices to protect both patients and staff, continuing to see patients face-to-face where this was necessary, and calls on the BMA to demand NHSE cease and desist from negative briefings suggesting otherwise.’
Next month’s BMA conference will also debate various motions relating to workplace pressures, including one put forward by LMCs that said the pandemic will cause ‘changes to what is available from the NHS which may result in rationing of care’.
The same motion also called on the BMA’s GP Committee to ensure that ‘clinical time can be focused on delivering clinical care, not on meeting burdensome targets or indicators that do not directly promote safe, quality patient care’.
The first motion to be debated, put forward by the main agenda committee, said general practices should be ‘empowered’ to direct their own return to ‘business as usual’.
Another motion calls on the Government to be ‘transparent about the efficacy of the NHS 111 First and other equivalent phone-first services’.
NHS England has said it is conducting an evaluation of the 111 First scheme, but it remains unclear when results are expected to be published.
And another LMC motion demanded that the GPC seeks ‘full immunity for all doctors from clinical negligence claims during the Covid-19 pandemic’ amid indemnity provider concerns that goodwill to clinicians will be ‘lost under a deluge of litigations and demands’.
Other motions for debate include calls for:
- The GMC’s right of appeal against MPTS decisions to be removed urgently
- A ‘major review’ of regulation processes because they ‘discriminate against BAME doctors’
- An urgent indemnity solution for GPs in Northern Ireland, ahead of the upcoming discount rate decision which means it could no longer be ‘viable’ to work there
Motions in full
NORTH WEST REGIONAL COUNCIL: That this meeting recognises that Primary Care did not shut during the pandemic, but appropriately changed working practices to protect both patients and staff, continuing to see patients face to face where this was necessary, and calls on the BMA to demand NHSE cease and desist from negative briefings suggesting otherwise.
CONFERENCE OF LMCS: That this meeting believes that honesty with the UK public is needed about the scale of the backlog in usual NHS care as a result of Covid19, and the time it will take for this to revert to normal standards, and:-
i) believes that there will be some changes to what is available from the NHS which may result in rationing of care;
ii) requires GPC to enable and empower individual general practices to dictate the pace of return to ‘business as usual’ for all non-essential services;
iii) demands that governments provide clear public communication about which treatments and services are not available on the NHS and where to seek help otherwise;
iv) calls on governments to provide additional funding to enable access to, and support from, mental wellbeing services for the general practice workforce;
v) calls on GPC to continue to ensure that clinical time can be focused on delivering clinical care, not on meeting burdensome targets or indicators that do not directly promote safe, quality patient care.
THE AGENDA COMMITTEE (TO BE PROPOSED BY CARDIFF AND VALE OF GLAMORGAN DIVISION): That this meeting believes that honesty with the UK public is required with respect to the recovery from the pandemic and:-
i) endorses the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s plan for the recovery of Unscheduled, Urgent, Emergency and Acute care;
ii) insists that general practices should be empowered and enabled to manage their return to “business as usual”;
iii) believes that substantial new additional financial investment is required to increase and support the necessary workforce, equipment, facilities and support services to achieve recovery of physical, mental health and public health services;
iv) believes that the private sector should be part of recovery plans for elective care;
v) believes that all unnecessary bureaucracy and targets distracting from patient care should be suspended until the recovery is complete
CARDIFF AND VALE OF GLAMORGAN DIVISION: That this meeting endorses the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s plan for a Summer to Recover from the pandemic, specifically for the Governments of all 4 nations of the UK to:-
i) embed Unscheduled Care firmly into recovery plans and allocate sufficient funding to support the whole Urgent and Emergency Care system;
ii) expand capacity and restore acute hospital beds;
iii) be transparent about the efficacy of the NHS 111 First and other equivalent phonefirst services;
iv) commit to using the 12-hour data from time of arrival for all Emergency Departments to drive plans for winter; and
v) require their NHS Trusts and Boards to:
- ensure there is adequate alternative care for patients with urgent problems who may be better cared for elsewhere
- use 12-hour data from time of arrival to proactively address crowding and corridor care
- work actively with local health systems to ensure that service provision matches local population need.
CONFERENCE OF LMCS: That this meeting notes the concerns expressed by indemnity providers that the goodwill shown to clinicians in the pandemic will be lost under a deluge of litigations and demands the GPC seeks:-
i) full immunity for all doctors from clinical negligence claims during the Covid-19 pandemic;
ii) a Repeal of S2(4) of the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948;
iii) the establishment of an independent body to define the NHS health and social care package which can give an appropriate standard of care for all patients irrespective of the cause of the patient’s care requirements;
iv) to limit compensation claims to the costs of additional care required;
v) that we move to a New Zealand no fault compensation scheme.
NORTH WEST REGIONAL COUNCIL: That this meeting urges the BMA to impress on the Government that the proposals on regulation of healthcare professionals must ensure that the GMC’s right of appeal against MPTS decisions is removed.
CONFERENCE OF LMCS: That this meeting believes that the professional regulatory processes discriminate against BAME doctors and demands a major review of the system.
CONFERENCE OF LMCS: That this meeting is seeking assurance that an indemnity solution is found for GPs in Northern Ireland and agreed with NI Department of Health in the near future. This is urgent as the upcoming decision on the discount rate could increase indemnity subscriptions to a level where it would not be viable to work as a GP in NI.