Saturday, September 26, 2015

GPC report from 17 September 2015

GPC Report
For East and West Sussex LMCs
Dr Russell Brown
17th September 2015

The GPC held its latest meeting on17th of September.  

The meeting started with the AGM of the GPDF with election of Directors.  Stuart Kay was elected as the Chairman of the Board.  Colleagues may be aware of Stuart’s son,  Adam, who is part of Amateur Transplants and well worth seeing if you get the chance.   Alan McDevitt and Douglas Moerderle-Lamb were elected as Directors of GPDF.

The “official” GPC news can be found at It is worth a read for LMC members.  Other colleagues reading this may find some it less relevant to them personally in places.  Your mileage may vary.  (I have come across other VW-based jokes this week but there are too many to recall, it would be too exhausting.)

Pensions were discussed, especially the iniquitous position of locum GPs in the scheme, who are viewed as casual workers and so don't qualify for death in service.  Work is ongoing to try and change this.

Supporting practices:  NHS England apparently have £10 million to transport general practice. Despite numerous and detailed representations they have realised recently that they are going to have to spend at least a proportion of that to try and quantify the problem they are facing. In other words, although they have not said as much, they have realised that £10 million is an inadequate sum. Personally, if they stuck a few extra zeros on the end I think we might be closer to solving some of the problems.

Seniority: a “Focus on” document was recently published which explains the changes which are happening. Essentially seniority will go down and global sum will go up. There is a target to reduce seniority payments by 15% per annum over the next seven years. However as this year is starting in October, the reduction will be 11% overall this year. Unfortunately, as we are starting midyear, this equates to a 23% reduction in seniority for the rest of this year. In future years the reductions will start from April and will be 15% of the budget.

Updates on payments to practices: things seem to be working somewhat better in most places now. Nevertheless there’s been some interesting figures released by HSCI which show that the proportion of the NHS budget spent on general practice reduced from 10.4% in 2010/11 to 7.4% last year. Additionally there is a significant differential funding per patient per year between GMS, PMS and APMS practices of £137, £144 and £190 respectively. Of course we all knew this already and the rest of the NHS is only just catching up with this several years down the line.

Recruiting and retaining GPs: the recently announced contract in position on junior doctors is likely to have a major impact on general practice recruitment. Taken in context with the current recruitment difficulties, the word “catastrophic” wandered across my consciousness during the meeting. Though I have always been a fan of the concept of cockup rather than conspiracy, I am beginning to wonder

Physicians associates: despite the fact that nobody is really clear what role these health professionals might have a general practice, as so far they’ve been used almost exclusively in hospital practice even in the USA, moves are afoot to move this forward. Given that they will have no obvious regulatory body and will not be able to prescribe I am concerned about workload implications for GPs as well as the obvious indemnity issues.

 All in all I am rather depressed.

The afternoon was taken up with subcommittee meetings where, as a member of the commissioning and service development subcommittee, I was engaged in interesting discussions about future models of care. The Vanguard sites are doing some interesting work. Change is coming and I am uncertain how this will affect practices. I am also uncertain how I may be able to help protect practices and locums. The roles of LMC's and the GPC will I suspect change as the structures within the NHS do.

The next GPC meeting is scheduled for October. 

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

Dr Russell Brown