M Word - Issue 24 - November 2015 now available

20 November 2015

Following my message earlier this week, I want to update you further on events over the last 2 days. Yesterday saw an unprecedented 99% of junior doctors back industrial action and the first day of industrial action is scheduled to take place within a week of next week’s announcement of the Government’s Autumn Spending Review; the outlook is decidedly frosty. Yesterday the GPC took steps not only to show GPs’ support for the juniors, but also to build support for dealing with the crisis happening right now in general practice. The details are as follows:

  1. The GPC agrees special crisis LMC conference
  2. The GPC supports junior doctors - industrial action
  3. Government autumn spending review

As always, any thoughts or comments you might have are very welcome and can be emailed to mword@lmc.org.uk.

Dr Michelle Drage MBBS FRCGP

Chief Executive
Londonwide LMCs

1. The GPC agrees special crisis LMC conference

Responding to calls for action from LMCs including all those in Londonwide LMCs and across the profession, the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) of the BMA met yesterday to discuss the crisis of resources and morale hitting general practice happening right now. Members unanimously agreed to call a Special Conference of LMCs early in the new year to decide what actions to take to protect the future of the profession.

This is a very significant move and a very significant opportunity for younger GPs to get involved and have your voice heard.The Motion agreed for debate by the GPC reads: “That, in the light of concerns about the crisis in General Practice expressed by Local Medical Committees responding to their members' concerns, the GPC is calling a Special Conference of Representatives of LMCs in the new year to decide what actions are needed to ensure GPs can deliver a safe and sustainable service.” More from me on this to follow.

2. The GPC supports junior doctors - industrial action

Also at yesterday’s GPC meeting, following the announcement of the result of the ballot, there was overwhelming support for junior doctor colleagues, expressed by the motion: “The GPC applauds the Junior Doctors for the overwhelming mandate they have given their leaders to fight for a safe and fair contract, to maintain the future workforce and keep patients safe.”

The ballot ended yesterday with junior doctors voting overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action after the government’s threat to impose a new junior doctor contract in England from August next year.

Over 99% of the junior doctors in England who voted were in favour of industrial action short of a strike, and 98 per cent for full strike action (full results below), demonstrating the strength of feeling amongst the profession. Junior doctors have clearly been left with little alternative due to the government’s continued threat to impose a contract that is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors. The BMA has approached ACAS to offer last minute conciliatory talks with the health secretary and NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting information coming from government over the past weeks. This offer has not yet been taken up. The BMA has issued clear guidance to practices on what to expect and what you can do. You can find it here.

Question 1.
Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

Result of voting

Number of ballot papers returned:

28,316

Number of papers found to be spoilt:

17

Total number of papers counted:

28,299

Number voting YES 28,120 (99.4% of valid vote); Number voting NO 179 (0.6% of valid vote); Total 28,299 (100% of valid vote); Turnout: 76.2%.

Question 2.
Are you prepared to take part in strike action?

Result of voting

Number of ballot papers returned:

28,316

Number of papers found to be spoilt:

11

Total number of papers counted:

28,305

Number voting YES 27,741 (98% of valid vote); Number voting NO 564 (2% of valid vote); Total 28,305 (100% of valid vote); Turnout: 76.2%.

A total of 37,155 members were balloted.

The dates and type of action that junior doctors will be called on to take are:

  • Emergency care only – 8am, Tuesday 1 December to 8am Wednesday 2 December 2015
  • Full walk out – 8am to 5pm, Tuesday 8 December 2015
  • Full walk out – 8am to 5pm, Wednesday 16 December 2015

3. Government autumn spending review

The Government’s 2015 Spending Review is due next Wednesday – 25 November, just a few days ahead of the first Junior Doctors’ strike. In July the Government outlined how the Review will “prioritise investment in the NHS and in our national security”. The document says that Treasury Ministers back the NHS Five Year Forward View which they state outlines “a plan for a more sustainable, integrated health service that cares for people closer to home”. It goes on to say that extra investment in the NHS “will ensure that the NHS becomes a 7-day service by 2020-21. Everyone will be able to access GP services from 8am – 8pm 7 days a week. These improvements will allow people to better balance work, family and their healthcare, and will be central to a more productive economy”.

My own personal question to the government and the NHS system is this:

When you say “will allow people to better balance work, family and healthcare”, do you also include the work and family and health of the GPs and practice teams doing the caring?

Don’t forget our acclaimed Take Control Resilience resources on our websites to help you through the difficult months to come.

As ever – Please do let me have any views on these issues or others at mword@lmc.org.uk.
Last updated : 02 Dec 2015

 

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