For East and West Sussex LMCs
Dr Russell Brown
19 December 2013
The GPC held its last meeting of the year today.
A packed audience witnessed a gripping debate about the minutiae of the Standing Orders at the opening of the meeting. I was particularly impressed by one members prolific use of commas, parentheses and indeed subclauses, not only within one sentence but in one breath. Remarkable.
Thankfully, the meeting then moved to subjects of more relevance to my constituents. After the contract announcement of last month, where Julius Parker wrote from the LMC office, there was a report as to how work is progressing on the implementation of the changes. Much work remains to do. Of particular interest to PMS practices is the news that NHS England has written to Area Teams to inform them that they should pay PMS practices for locum superannuation costs, backdated to April. It is unfortunate that NHS England has taken nine months to discover that what we were telling them all along, namely that no PMS practice already had this money in their baseline budgets, was correct. With regard to the Equitable funding arrangements that were part of the current year's contract imposition, there may be news imminently on how is is to work for PMS practices. It should be noted that vigorous discussions are still on going.
The reprehensible and one might say irresponsible media management of CQC last week will no doubt have filled you all with disgust, as it did me. Apparently a stern letter is to be sent to Prof Steve Field with a meeting afterwards, by both Chaand Nagpaul and Mark Porter. There was much disappointment and criticism of the lack of an open letter to Prof Field. It appears that some in the BMA felt it needed tweaking, until such time as it was no longer appropriate to send an open letter. The Chairman was left in no doubt as to the feelings if the committee on the unacceptable delays to a letter. Nevertheless, it is being made clear to CQC that such incompetent press releases are not acceptable in future.
A presentation on the work of the BMA's EU policy Manager was given, explaining why it is important for the BMA to lobby in Brussels. Essentially this is so that we can influence the drafting of EU law, which has a direct bearing on UK law. After that, we heard about a European professional card, initially designed to be used by mountain guides, plumbers and similar professionals. There are moves to have it used across the EU by GPs, though training and experience is not equivalent across the EU. This is being resisted. Finally, there are moves afoot to get General Practice in the UK, Italy and Austria recognised as a speciality, as it is in much of the rest of the EU. This requires a ⅔ majority vote in the European Parliament and so will remain a work in progress for some time to come I suspect.
The tariff concept to fund general practice training was discussed. There are moves afoot to pilot a change in funding arrangements for both undergraduate and postgraduate training. Various meetings are taking place and reality is being described to those whose plans include charging practices to train. I predict wholesale withdrawal if that ever happens...
Breakout groups were held during the day to discuss the effectiveness and way of working of GPC, including a discussion of the continuing appropriateness of the negotiating body in its current form. I suspect there will be changes, but not soon. When definite plans are made, I will report back.
The next meeting is to be held on 16 January 2014. I hope you have found this report helpful. Please feedback so that I can ensure my reports are useful. Feel free to email me on email@example.com if you would like to comment or ask me anything. Comments can also be posted on my blog where this report will also be posted at www.thebrownstuff.blogspot.com
And so, finally, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Dr Russell Brown