Look, I’ll level with you. I’m good at sore throats, but I’m no good at medicopolitics. I don’t understand it and I’m not that interested in it. The annual LMC conference, for example, is as mysterious and arcane to me as a Masonic meeting, so I really have no right to shout ill-informed opinion from the sidelines.
But that won’t stop me.
After all, if I’ve got this right – and you might need eyelid-propping matchsticks for this next bit – the successful LMC motions mould GPC policy which in turn, I’m guessing, must inform contract negotiations. So I’ll summarise the successful motions from the recent LMC conference here. See if you can spot a problem:
No new PCN work or DES extension, all PCN funding to be moved into core, PCN withdrawal without withdrawal symptoms, a new fee-for-service contract, alternative contract models for a post NHS apocalypse, income protection until April 2022, suspension of direct NHS111 bookings, a ban on mandated Advice and Guidance, and an end to contractual online consulting.
I know: no mention of solving the migrant crisis, curtailing global warming or achieving world peace.
OK, it’s not that I disagree with any of the LMC demands, it’s just that, taken as a whole, it reads like a catharsis rather than a serious negotiating position. I mean, if we GPs took to the streets right now, inspired by this, what would we be chanting? ‘What do we want? Everything to be less shit.’ It doesn’t even scan.
Not that there seems much likelihood of militancy. While there were signs of anti-PCN sentiment in the pre-ballot ballot responders, that response rate was a dismal 35%.
So the risk is that the Government will see the demands as a joke list from an apathetic profession. And that the negotiators will be in a state of increasing desperation and futility, shouting themselves into hoarseness and sore throats. At which point, of course, I can help.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield