Last week the BMA GPs committee took our Urgent Prescription for General Practice campaign to Westminster as part of a BMA-led Parliamentary event, sponsored by Sir Kevin Barron MP, and past chair of the Health Select Committee.
The afternoon brought together MPs from across the political spectrum to meet members of the GPC and representatives from a range of local medical committees. It gave an opportunity for politicians to discuss the daily local realities and pressures affecting the profession with GPs across the nation.
In my opening remarks, I proposed solutions addressing the crisis in general practice, as described in our urgent prescription ‘responsive, safe, sustainable‘, and which we believe needs to be implemented over and above NHS England’s General Practice Forward View.
Alistair Burt, MP and health minister, delivered the keynote speech, in which he provided much support for the messages in our campaign, and was sympathetic to the pressures in general practice, perhaps helped by his perspective of being the son of a retired GP.
Beth McCarron (pictured fourth from left), GPC executive lead on the urgent prescription campaign, gave a personal account of the challenges of working in a practice facing massive funding cuts that will affect their ability to continue to provide services.
I believe the event was extremely successful, and that MPs would have left with a far better understanding of the parlous state of general practice, and the need for urgent action. We hope this is translated into putting pressure on the Government to implement an immediate rescue plan to tackle the problems highlighted by the BMA’s Urgent Prescription for General Practice campaign and ensure the long-term future of general practice.
LMC conference 2016
As you are aware, the annual conference of LMC’s took place on May 19 to 20, bringing together over 500 GP representatives from across the UK.
In my opening speech, I reiterated that GPs are not willing to continue to work in an environment that prevents us from providing safe quality care. I highlighted that our Urgent Prescription for General Practice campaign had raised awareness among the public of the desperate and unsustainable state of the profession, penetrating national prime-time TV, radio, and with 663 mentions across national and local press.
I presented our proposals for a rescue plan for general practice as in our urgent prescription proposals ‘responsive, safe, sustainable‘, which are tangible measures GPC believes are needed to stabilise general practice today, while we build a platform for future sustainability.
The conference took on a new format this year, with themed debates and breakout groups which discussed areas such as:
- Funding of general practice
- Workload in general practice
- General practice workforce
- Empowering professionalism
- GP networks and collaboration
- Devolution in Manchester
- GP premises
There was overwhelming support for GPC’s urgent prescription rescue plan ‘responsive, safe, sustainable’.
However, the conference was clear that it did not accept the NHS England General Practice Forward View as an adequate response to the crisis affecting general practices, and voted that unless the Government agrees to accept our urgent prescription within three months, GPC should ask the BMA to undertake a number of actions, including balloting the profession on their willingness to sign undated resignations and take industrial action.
GPC is working on next steps in taking this forward.
Other resolutions from conference included:
- The need for the 7-day GP service mantra to be abandoned, with additional resources to enhance the weekend emergency cover services
- Improved GP IT services, including the scanning, digitising and shredding of paper records
- Funding to treat overseas visitors
- Rejection of compulsory reporting by practices of locum payments.
You can catch up on the conference which is available on webcast here
The LMC conference, and issues arising from it, generated significant media interest, and it is vital to continue to raise public awareness about the precarious state of general practice, and the need for urgent action by the Government.
- After junior doctor GPs have balloted for strike action (Independent)
- GPs will vote on strike action (Daily Telegraph)
- GPs with decision fatigue provide better treatment in morning (The Telegraph)
- Mass resignation of GPs ‘impending reality’ warns leading doctor (Mail Online)
- Proposals for seven-day NHS are immoral, says leading GP (The Guardian)
NHS Property Services template lease launched
You will know that for more than a year, GPC has been negotiating with NHS PS (NHS Property Services) to improve conditions for GPs occupying NHS PS-owned premises. We are pleased to inform you that these negotiations have come to an end and that we have agreed a template lease, which should be of benefit to practices.
The lease is to be used as the basis for local agreement on specific issues between practices and NHS PS. The template lease, along with supporting commitments from NHS England, should go a long way toward dealing with some of the major issues that practices are suffering – for example the ‘last man standing’ phenomenon, ensuring rents track reimbursement, assignment of the lease to different partners, categorical commitment to payment of stamp duty land tax and legal fees (time-limited) and the inclusion of a break clause.
The full template lease, guidance and other resources are available on the BMA webpage
BMA GPs committee chair
Expert employment law and HR advice for GP employers
The BMA Employer Advisory Service is a dedicated team of advisers who provide specialist employment law and HR advice to GP practices, for clinical and non-clinical staff.
What is unique about the service is that it understands the GP environment more than any other provider and has access to specialist advice in all areas of the BMA.
Members regularly feed back that they are caught up in expensive contracts with other employment law providers, unaware that the BMA provides a superb service as part of the BMA membership package. It regularly hears tales of excessive contract terms, automatic renewals, punitive ‘get-out’ clauses and support being withdrawn at a critical point.
GP employers need to consider if the fees charged by other providers represents value for money, especially if they are members of the BMA. The service will shortly be issuing a survey, through Survey Monkey, to ask you how it can continue to tailor itself to meet your needs. Please look out for the email in your inbox inviting you to take part and help us continue to help you.
‘I have total trust in the team of advisers and can honestly say that I don’t think I would have coped with the burgeoning workload without knowing that if I needed employment law assistance, I could ring at any time’. (PM Great Yarmouth)
Call 0300 123 123 3 for free advice you can trust