For East and West Sussex LMCs
Dr Russell Brown
19 January 2017
The GPC met this week. As I had to miss the November meeting after one of my partners was unwell (now fully recovered I am delighted to report) this is my first report for some months (please, not too much cheering at the back). You may recall that there are now fewer meetings generally. This meeting was of GPC England, so slightly smaller.
Contract negotiations 2017/18
I can report that negotiations have moved on after an uncharacteristically late start. I can't report any of the details or discussion however. I should have more info in a few weeks that I can share and discuss with you.
Update on GPFV
We heard from Lena Levy, the Policy Lead within the BMA for Health Policy, and several GPC members of work around the GPFV but, in essence, it continues to be worked on. Nobody thinks it will save general practice but it may help us keep going while we try and persuade those holding the purse strings of the necessity of more support.
We received an update on STPs, all 44 have now been published but are often difficult to find. With that in mind the BMA have a dedicated page on the website at www.bma.org.uk/stp where you can find much information. It would be fair to say that the plans are at best a mixed bag. I couldn't possibly comment on whether anybody including the authors think the savings anticipated in many of the plans are in any way grounded in the reality that you and I inhabit rather than an alternative and possibly drug addled universe.
We received an oral update on how things progress. In some areas of the country, there have been exciting and possibly helpful developments. In others, the more usual morass of confusion and lack of engagement continues unabated. In many areas there seems to be a move towards an accountable care model. In some of those, the aim would appear to be a salaried GP service. Quite how that fits with us maintaining our independence and role as patient advocate the deity of your choice only knows. One only has to look at what has happened to our Public Health Colleagues for an idea, I suspect. Make sure you are aware of local plans and further more are involved and willing to hold the organisers to account if you feel unable to support their work.
GPC survey update
We received a brief oral update on the results of the GPC survey which have been gradually released with much media coverage.
There have been a variety of issues around CQC, including a consultation on how they monitor and inspect services, a change in "Intelligent monitoring" to "GP Insight" (I would note that many of us think we have considerable insight into CQC and how it works already but that is not, apparently, the point). The CQC published its "State of Care" report (here) which showed that 87% of practices were rated good or excellent, 10% require improvement (usually around processes rather than patient care) and only 3% as inadequate. Apparently 800,000 patients are registered with services rated inadequate for safety. The CQC definition of safety is not always as intuitive as you might expect and I would recommend looking at "Nigel's surgery" on their website.
The official GPC news can be found at the usual bit of the BMA website. This month it includes details of the robust response to the Prime Minister's ill-informed pronouncement on seven day opening. Apparently this came as a surprise to the Department of Health, NHS England and even Jeremy Hunt. It also includes a section on the National Audit Office report (mis)quoted by Mrs May which makes both interesting and sobering reading.
The next GPC meeting is in March though there is a conference for English LMCs and GPC England members on 23 February entitled "Working together to sustain general practice - England" which several of the LMC's Medical Directors and I will be attending. I will report back after that.
I hope you have found this report helpful. Please feedback so that I can ensure my reports are useful.
Dr Russell Brown