This site is intended for health professionals only

Catch up on our live blog from the LMCs Conference

Day two

16:30 So we come to the end of the day and that’s all from us. We’ll be honest. It’s not been the most exciting. Much of that reflects the new contract in England, which leaders seem to be in favour of.

They voted down motions criticising networks and voting down payments for patient contacts.

We’re not quite sure if that reflects actual grassroots GPs’ views, however.

But most importantly – the dog has been returned to its owner! 

16:20 GP leaders agreed that bullying within the NHS is an abuse of power that should be comdemned. One of the most important motions heard this week, said BMA member Bob Morley. 

16:00 The motion is passed in full.

15:50 Now moving on to the NHS pension scheme and the problems (e.g unexpected tax charges) caused by recent changes in annual allowance made by HMRC. As Dr Ian Morris pointed out, it would appear that it’s easier at the moment to understand quantum physics than get your head around pensions…

15:10 Matt Hancock given a bit of a rebuke for his support of IT solutions:

14:30  The motion is overwhelmingly defeated, just as we thought.

14:20  It’s the biggie – the risk to GP’s autonomy from primary care networks.

But the big laughs are coming from GPC chair Dr Katie Bramhall-Stainer’s mispronounciation of all the speakers names (it’s funnier in person, we swear).

14:10  With everyone watered and fed, it’s back to business. This time, discussing continuity of care vs extended access.

Blah blah mentions of the bedrock of the NHS blah blah…

The battle wasn’t too long drawn out (thankfully the five additional speakers didn’t get their shot). Continuity of care won and the motion to prioritise it over extended access passed.

12:50 There have been plenary sessions (that us lowly journalists are not allowed in to). There is a big motion after lunch however – whether networks will undermine GPs’ autonomy.

12:05  The word federation is getting thrown around a lot, specifically by Dr David Ross, telling the conference how federations have been organised around Northern Ireland.

11:35: And that has been lost. It wasn’t as tight as we were expecting. It may have something to do with the new contract. If the BMA were able to sidestep the previous motion, they would have no trouble doing it for this one.

11:30 We are on the discussion about whether payments should be based on patient contacts. This has been debated before, and even won (though nothing was done). 

But it would be a headache for the BMA if it is won. It is very much in the balance.

11:10 After a very very (very) long debate on the payments for delegates, we are now discussing whether GPs should be recognised as ‘specialists in family medicine’. It’s not really clear how this would change your day-to-day practice, but it seems like a favourite debate for LMCs Conference over the years.

10:40 We now have the speech from Dr Lucy Henshall on the suicide of her friend, a GP, in full. It is a vital piece that you really should read:

‘General practice made Richie ill’

10:25 Away from the Jack Russell story – and the LMCs Conference in general – a great story on the new indemnity scheme.

GP indemnity claims to be under ‘discretion’ of the health secretary

10:15 Unconfirmed reports that the Jack Russell has found its way back to its owner! We will confirm as this develops. This isn’t the Jack Russell in question, but it is a Jack Russell (with a bit of chihuahua)

img 20190313 wa0003

img 20190313 wa0003

(No apologies for lack of LMCs Conference updates – we are at the navel gazing section)

9:50  Dr Jackie Applebee up next, giving an impassioned speech on the data collected by the supplementary form of immigrant patients being used by the Home Office to enable the deportation of patients.

’We are not border guards and we should not play a part in the Home Office’s agenda. Out trust could be undermined if we are seen as assisting the Home Office,’ she said.

Dr Bob Morley, Head of GPC Contracts and regulation said: ’The motion… calls for GPs to take action that breaches GPs’ contracts. We can’t support that.’

The motion carries, after a tight vote.

9:15  Dr Francesca O’Hagan starts off the first motion proposing, rather exasperatedly, the UK government to help Northern Ireland to manage the delivery of healthcare following Brexit.

She said: ’We have nobody in Northern Ireland. There’s nobody looking out for us, there’s nobody in Brussels speaking for us. So we need to call on the UK government.’

The motion is passed unanimously.

8:55 Good morning everyone. Today there are a few big issues up for debate. We are starting off with the effect of Brexit on Northern Ireland healthcare, but will be discussing whether we should implement a funding system based on the number of patient contacts and also whether networks are a good thing.

Most importantly, however – no news yet about the Jack Russell that wandered in to the conference centre yesterday. We’ll keep you fully updated on this throughout the day.

Day one

18:30 That’s the end of day one. Tomorrow promises to be a packed agenda, discussing the worth of primary care networks, payment by activity and another vote on list closures. 

Finally for tonight. Just as delegates were leaving, another delegate came bursting through the door. A little Jack Russell with no owner! One of the conference staff took him. We promise to have updates on this tomorrow.

17:00 So what has been happening, we hear you scream? Some interesting stuff, actually. And we have written all about it here:

16:25 Pulse blogger (and, in her spare time, leader of GP sessionals at the BMA) Dr Zoe Norris gives a powerful speech on LMCs challenging the commissioners to support GP locums. ’It is no use saying you need a seat at the table. If you are doing your jobs right, you own the table.’

This gets a huge roar.

15:50  Time for the soapbox session and for GPs to get issues off their chest. The one minute timer is ticking…

Dr Kieran Sharrock from Lincolnshire LMC said: “It takes me 15 mins to get my patients medical record open. Mr Hancock, stop talking about apps. Mr Hancock, stop talking about GP at Hand. Get the internet up to speed in rural areas.”

A loud applause, understandably, erupts.

One GP raises the issue published in Pulse of the CQC telling patients to complain about GP care. Dr Arslan Arshad in Newham said: ”We phone our patients, we text them but we need to let our patients decide to come for smears. Why should we get penalised?”

14:45 We now have Dr Richard Vautrey’s speech in full online. Find it here.

15:30 A bit of a lull after that very emotional debate. It was all passed, unsurprisingly. 

15:00 The motion being debated is this – although a lot of speakers make the point that surveys are not worth it and we have gone past this point.

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY SUFFOLK: That conference mindful of the appalling statistics and circumstances of doctor suicides, charges GPC with:

(i) raising the issue of GP suicide with all major stakeholders to seek better understanding of any preventable triggers and adverse drivers that lie within stakeholders’ influence, in order to seek their removal where possible

(ii) lobbying government to adequately resource proper psychological support systems for all GPs, including GPs who are on parental or sickness leave or who are out of work, in order to prevent occupation related mental distress developing, rather than waiting to treat it once established

(iii) pressing for proper NHS funded coaching and supervision services to be made available to all GPs as standard

(iv) sourcing or developing an appropriate short survey tool to measure and classify work related stress amongst GPs.

14:45 We are now talking about understanding what is driving GP suicide. Dr Lucy Henshall tells a heartbreaking story about a friend of hers.

’Richie inspired a generation as a GP trainer. He is exactly the type of doctor we all want to see.’

Richie died by suicide. ’General practice had made him ill. He had tow periods off ill with depression. A patient’s complaint changed hm irreversibly.’

‘We are just meant to cope’, she finishes.

We need a service for all GPs ’I will be holding Matt Hancock to account. He said we need to care for the carers. I agree.’

’It’s time to speak up for Richie,’ she concludes. 

An absolutely brilliant speech – and a deserved standing ovation.

14:40 Another take on Dr Richard Vautrey’s speech:

14:35 Northern Ireland GP Committee chair Dr Alan Stout follows on from Dr Vautrey’s positivity when he says Northern Irish GPs are, too, seeing a slight upturn. However, he points out that even practices in Belfast are closing – something that was unthinkable a few years back.

He talks about the lack of a health secretary in Northern Ireland, due to the Stormont deadlock. ’The jury is out whether this is a good or a bad thing,’ he says.

14:30 A 50 second standing ovation. It was a stirring speech – as it often is – but potentially suffered a little from its positivity. The theme of the speech was ‘we have listened, acted and delivered’.

It was essential – lest we forget, the GPC is going to be judged on the success of this conference. 

14:25  ’ I have a growing sense that anumber of GPs are sensing light at the end of the tunnel… a sense of hope we can redevelop general practice,’ he says. But we are not there yet. 

14:15 GPs have asked the BMA to fight for general practice, says Dr Vautrey. ‘It’s a fight we are now winning,’ he adds.

14:10 You wanted an indemnity scheme, an end to one year contracts and an end to the years of austerity, sasy GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey. ‘We have delivered!’ he adds. 

Not a full round of applause, but a couple of cheers.

13:55  We are waiting for BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey to open the conference, and specifically the effect of the new English and (slightly less new) Scottish contracts. We are in the ‘Titanic Quarter’, and lots of parts of the conference centre are Titanic themed. Make of that what you will…

13:40: Welcome to our live blog of the two-day LMCs Conference in Belfast this year. The LMCs Conference makes policy for the BMA’s GP Committee, and shapes their agenda for the next year. 

We will be keeping you up to date on all the developments. We’ll be discussing unofficial screening programmes, radical changes to GP training and overhauling revalidation today.

It may well be that the GPC will be forced to support payments by activity – ie, you will be paid according to the number of patients you see – by the end of two-day conference.