Monday, July 22, 2013

GPC Report 18 July 2013

GPC Report
For East and West Sussex LMCs
Dr Russell Brown

18 July 2013

The GPC held its meeting on 18 July. 

An exciting morning was had, with elections for a new Chairman (Chaand Nagpaul) and for three negotiator posts (Richard Vautrey, Beth McCarron-Nash and Peter Holden). With the election of Charlotte Jones to the position of Chair of GPC Wales, our negotiating body is 25% female.  There is significant challenge ahead.  All were elected on the promise of change. We will see but in my view we have a good team to move forward with.

Negotiations may start soon, with some clarity developing as the mandate of NHSE matures.  There is little I can report as yet as far as negotiations are concerned but there have been meetings about some of the many problems encountered in the new world of the NHS, such as payment irregularities, money for appraisals and IT.  NHSE have apparently gone away to consider how to resolve the issues.  I am not expecting rapid resolution on a national level.

By the time I publish this report, a position paper on Out of Hours provision will be in the public domain.  I have asked the LMC office to send a copy with this report. No doubt it will be somewhere on the BMA website. Good luck finding it. 

UEMO, the European Union of medical organisations, wishes to see general practice (or Family Medicine as it is called in some countries) recognised across Europe as a speciality in it's own right. As you might expect, GPC supports this and will try and facilitate the process. 

There has been further work on the Future of General Practice.  A document should be forthcoming soon, likely in the form of a position statement.  More when I have it.

There was discussion around the recently reported consultations about eligibility for access to NHS services for immigrant populations of one sort or another.  The consultation documents make suggestions which are unworkable and LMC conference policy is that we will NOT become de facto agents for the Borders Agency.  Many of the suggestions are not only unworkable but would cost more than they would save (given reliable figures suggest that this costs the NHS about £6M per year, not the £200M Hunt has been spouting) and are probably unethical and contravene Human Rights legislation to boot.  Still, makes for a good soundbite. 

Monitor are examining General Practice, overtly asking where current commissioning arrangements work against the interests of patients, which is double-speak for "how can we introduce competition?"  This is a very worrying piece of work and will be responded to robustly by the BMA. GPC has been the main player in composing the response which will be published soon.  

A presentation by the Association of Medical Research Charities went on rather, as they are keen to enthuse GPs and get them engaged in research.  Which is all very well, but when we are all overloaded already and they failed to address the issue of how is that time funded, I am not sure there is an easy answer.  The obvious solution is to invest more in General Practice, perhaps by generating an extra 22,000 whole-time equivalent GPs, so we can resource to time needed to engage. There was no disagreement with the position that research is important but no obvious, realistic way forward.  The matter will be examined by the Clinical and Prescribing subcommittee in due course.

The subcommittees will be elected electronically in the next month or so.  I am standing again for the Commissioning and Service Development Subcommittee. Fingers crossed, eight spaces, a least a dozen candidates....

For further news, colleagues can access the most recent GPC News on the BMA website.  For some reason it is under "About the BMA" rather than clearly signposted.  A direct link to this month's offering is at  It may interest you to know that there is a work stream on improving communications going on within GPC separate from BMA. Watch this space...

I hope you have found this report useful.  Please feedback so that I can ensure my reports are useful. 

Dr Russell Brown