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COVER STORY THIS MONTH


GPC chair declares ‘state of emergency’


General practice is currently unsafe for patients and is in a ‘state of emergency’, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told delegates in a passionate speech. Dr Nagpaul railed against the ‘nit-picking’ CQC and


It is our duty to put this right


Dr Chris Hewitt


‘platitudes’ from the Government, and called for an end to the ‘pretence that all is well on the road to recovery’. Dr Nagpaul cited fi gures published by Pulse showing


200,000 patients have been displaced by practice closures in the past year and dismissed moves by NHS England and the Government as inadequate, as all practices are now ‘struggling’. The GPC chair said the ‘mere fact that an extraordinary


conference has been convened… speaks volumes about the state and crisis facing general practice today’.


LMCs back £200 per patient call GP leaders have supported a call for a minimum payment per patient per year of £200. The motion said the current average of £141 per patient


the BMA to submit undated resignation letters was in January 1975, over cuts to wages. Some 60% of GPs submitted them and the letters were kept ‘as a precaution’ by the union, with the intention of using them if their negotiations for a better deal with then Labour health secretary Barbara Castle failed. In 2001, there was a ballot on the need for a new contract and the GPC’s right to represent all PMS GPs. At the same time 86% of GP principals said they would consider resignation from the NHS. This was all a prelude to the new 2004 contract.


Unity


But GP leaders may be worried about a repeat of the pensions ‘day of action’ in 2012. The BMA’s ballot on industrial action was supported by the whole medical profession but on the day of action, only one in four practices took part and the union failed to secure any concessions from ministers. GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones


said it was important – now more than ever – for the profession to show unity. She said: ‘I think we need to get the


grassroots behind us now. This is an ideal opportunity for everyone to unite, and harness the strain and pressures of the profession to actually get something done about it once and for all.’ Dr Nagpaul concluded: ‘It is unfortunate, and shameful, that we need a motion to wake the Government up. At least now I can say “this is not just the GPC and BMA, it is the grassroots speaking”.’ In a message to the conference, health minister Alistair Burt said the DH was increasing GP funding over this Parliament and looking at measures to streamline bureaucracy, CQC inspections and the payment system. He said: ‘I know general practice is under pressure – I meet a lot of GPs up and down the country – but I’m also aware of what it is we are trying to do to help.’


10 February 2016 Pulse


What comes next?


The LMC vote gives the GPC six months to negotiate an ‘emergency package’ of support with ministers. Perhaps in anticipation


of this motion passing, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has already announced he will be delivering a ‘package of measures’ to support practices this month. But after the disastrous


‘new deal’ offered by Mr Hunt last year – which had very little positive effect on practices – there is understandable cynicism about what it may contain. If Mr Hunt fails to deliver


substantial change, then he will face the prospect of the GPC being tasked with starting the process of requesting undated resignations from August. And this deadline could be brought forward if anger boils over at the annual LMC Conference in May.


was ‘wholly inadequate to provide a safe, sustainable and responsive service’ and called for it to be raised substantially. Presenting the motion, Leeds LMC


vice-chair Dr Nicola Hambridge said current average funding in England per patient equated to ‘a cappuccino a week’. She said £200 was


‘a minimum, a starting point, to begin to reduce inequality and reverse the systematic neglect of general practice over the past 10 years’. But Dr Richard Claxton,


a member of Kent LMC argued that this ‘the wrong way to proceed’ because ‘before we know it, that fi gure will be out of date and we are worth more than that’.


CQC boycott on table LMCs have called on the GPC to look at how practices might refuse to comply with CQC inspections, but without risking legal action. GPs voted overwhelmingly in support of the call to


‘explore all options by which GP practices could lawfully withdraw from engaging with the CQC’. They also called on the GPC to campaign to abolish CQC


regulation and replace it with a peer-review model of self-regulation. Proposing the motion, Dr Jackie Applebee, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, said boycotting the CQC ‘would be perfect’ as ‘even the Daily Mail would fi nd it hard to disagree if we argued we were refusing to co-operate with inspections as this freed us up to spend more time with patients’.


Pulse presents GPC chair with cover


Pulse editor Nigel Praities presented Dr Nagpaul with a framed copy of the cover of last month’s Pulse magazine at the conference. The cover depicts


How the Special LMC Conference unfolded Read full coverage of the conference at pulsetoday.co.uk/special-lmc


Dr Nagpaul as Che Guevara and asks: ‘Is it time for the GPC to get militant?’ It seems LMC leaders may now have answered this question...


CHARLES MILLIGAN


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