Mword – Issue 33 – A bit of politics

  • Mword

2 June 2017

Dear Colleague,

A bit of politics

In the last few weeks we’ve seen a fair bit of politics, big P, small P and GP, so it seems like a good time to update you on what some of this actually means for you as the backbone of the NHS. Relax – there will be one brief mention of the general election, I’m going to cover:

  • National LMC Conference 2017
  • Your contract
  • Representing you

National LMC Conference 2017
At Conference two weeks ago we heard some powerful speeches, including from Jackie Applebee of Tower Hamlets LMC in support of this motion, which was carried:

“That conference believes that the GP Forward View (GPFV) is failing to deliver the resources necessary to sustain general practice and demands that GPC ballot GPs as to whether they would be prepared to collectively close their lists in response to this crisis.”

When the GPFV was launched last year, it was against strong demands from the profession for a “rescue package”. But it was clear to many that the GPFV was less than adequate, especially in London, launching as it did the day after we declared a GP State of Emergency. Since then we’ve been trudging our way through the Kafka-esque processes put in place in London to distribute various small pots of money provided by the GPFV; it certainly doesn’t feel like the rescue package we need.

It is particularly interesting that this motion came from Tower Hamlets, since that is the CCG most commonly quoted by NHSE and government as one of the best. Heaven help those of us working in the rest.

We will have to wait and see just how the GPC leadership responds to Tower Hamlets’ motion over the next few weeks.

Conference also heard a number of motions about charging or taking co-payments from patients. Many speakers in favour were driven by a desire to spark a debate about how the NHS deals with funding levels, rationing and unmanaged demand, rather than actively seeking to end the National Health Service being free at the point of use. Whilst there is always risk in raising this, speakers including Ben Molyneux from City and Hackney LMC put on disciplined performances emphasising they would prefer services funded by the Government rather than directly by patients and most media coverage gave fair prominence to this argument.

Your contract
The 2014, pre-GPFV PMS review rumbles on. Your LMC is currently engaged with your CCG in the first part of an assurance process which was agreed between Londonwide LMCs and NHSE in London. The next part of this process is for us to determine whether local CCG plans for the PMS review risk destabilising practices, both PMS and GMS, and whether they support the long term sustainability of general practice in your CCG area. If we are unable to assure ourselves on these key principles, the relevant local plan will be returned to CCGs for further work and engagement with practices.

It is important to understand that these stages are all about plans, and not individual contract terms. Under the terms of our agreement with NHSE London, detailed discussions with PMS practices on individual contract terms can only take place once the plans are assured both by ourselves and NHSE London. Thereafter the process will follow the usual contractual disputes process laid down in the PMS Regulations. Whether PMS, APMS or GMS, please read our latest update.

Representing you
With our third significant national vote in the last two years coming up it can be easy to feel a sense of democratic fatigue, but as healthcare professionals, whether GPs, nurses, practice managers, or those allied to us, there has never been a more important time for the needs of general practice in London to be made clear at the ballot box. Please, please enable staff and urge others to get out and vote on Thursday.

Whatever result we wake up to on 9 June Londonwide LMCs and your local LMCs will still be there as the only people who represent all GPs and practice teams without fear or favour. We support you through individual and practice problems, be they GMC, CQC, CCG or from quarters that aren’t three letter abbreviations (TLAs). We represent you to commissioners, other providers, local government, national government, patient groups and anyone else whose work affects you and your patients.

You can see this in action – if you’re a GP principal or practice manager check your inbox for an email in my name from ComRes containing our latest workforce survey questionnaire, we use the hard evidence from this when making the case for London general practice, the more practices who respond the stronger that evidence is.

And If you’re recently qualified or are a locum/sessional of any length of service please register for our Essential Survival Kit event on 4 July. It’s about everything they didn’t tell you on your Vocational Training Scheme (VTS). We’re all looking forward to meeting you there to celebrate London’s diverse GP workforce. My colleague Katie Bramall-Stainer will be leading the day and has pulled together a top notch group of speakers for the event.

And please remember, no other organisation is there just for you and your practice teams. We listen, we support and we have your backs.

MichelleDr Michelle Drage FRCGP
Chief Executive, Londonwide LMCs

As ever – Please do let me have any views on these issues or others at