Thursday, January 17, 2013

GPC report 17 Jan 2013

GPC Report
For East and West Sussex LMCs
Dr Russell Brown

17 January 2013

The GPC held its meeting on 17 January. The day was in two parts, the morning being GPC-proper, the afternoon being devoted to a strategy session with thought-provoking (no, really) external speakers held under Chatham House rules. I expect to be able to share some of the issues raised in the afternoon with you in the months to come but as it is still a work in progress, now is not the time.

Contract negotiations update:
All of the details that can be shared can be found on the BMA website at The BMA are running a survey until 13 February to gauge opinion from the profession. It can be found at
I urge you all to complete it before the deadline though it may be sensible to wait until you have attended the Negotiators Roadshow if you are unsure about the extent of the damage that is about to be inflicted on us. This is also true for our constituents and I would ask that you remind them about the survey repeatedly. The negotiators roadshow on Thursday, 31 January has been confirmed. This will be held in the Aurora hotel in Crawley though I am unsure which negotiator is attending. Julius maybe able to advise. This meeting technically covers Surrey and Sussex. As last month, I would encourage all of you to attend and I would ask that you encourage as many of our non-politically minded colleagues to attend as well. For those unable to attend, I understand that the intention is to webcast the Avon meeting which I believe is on 7 February. Either the LMC office or I will forward details of that when we have confirmation.

Public Sector Pensions update:
A useful presentation from Andy Blake, the head of the BMA Pensions department, updated the committee on where we are. The Bill is currently at the Lords Committee stage, about a month ahead of schedule. This implies a degree of "rush". The Government has conceded that the so-called "Henry VIII" clauses, allowing retrospective changes to Primary legislation using Secondary legislation, are inappropriate and has removed them from the Bill. This is good news though of course in a context of a dire inevitability.

GP workforce issues:
A paper was presented for discussion, to advise and inform strategy for dealing with and helping other bodies involved in issues such as workforce planning, a contradiction in terms as no one knows what the NHS will look like in five years, never mind fifteen to twenty. A learning point for me was that the UK has the lowest number of GPs per head of population of any European country. I already knew about the recent report showing we were also the most efficient in Europe. One can't help thinking those two facts must mean something significant.

The next GPC meeting is on Thursday, 21 February and I will be absent as I am on leave that day. Any feedback or questions are welcomed. I have also started publishing these reports at a blog I used to keep at so that people can get to it easily. I am not using the blog for anything else these days.

Dr Russell Brown.
GPC Rep East and West Sussex