GPs have attacked what they claim is a determined attempt to ignore the views of local medical committees in the developing NHS commissioning world.
Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association GP Committee, expressed concern at the lack of recognition the LMCs were given by the government, Department of Health and emerging clinical commissioning groups.
Speaking after a meeting of the GPC, Dr Buckman said its members had expressed concern about CCGs where he said there seemed to be a “wilful attempt to exclude local medical committees as the democratic voice of GPs”.
“LMCs have been around for 100 years and it was no accident they were created in the first place and to ignore what they have to say when they represent all GPs is unhelpful,” he said.
He said LMCs were not mentioned in any DH documents and were key to ensuring CCGs were set up correctly.
In some areas CCGs were putting pressure on family doctors to sign “inter-practice agreements” which had not been examined by lawyers or the LMC, he said. “There is no legal basis for these agreements and some of them could have serious implications.”
The GPC has also drawn up a fair commissioning charter and a checklist for CCG constitutions. These will advise doctors not to sign off a CCG constitution unless it complies with the GPC checklist.
This was to ensure CCGs were properly established and that proper elections have been held.
Within its fair commissioning charter the GPC will include a specific mention that the CCG will establish and strengthen relationships with LMCs in its areas.
The GPC also attacked the process of revalidation by the General Medical Council, specifically the issue of multi-source feedback where a doctor has to seek the views of 15 medical colleagues as well as patients as part of their revalidation.
Dr Buckman said the issue would be a problem for locum doctors who may not have 15 colleagues to call on if they were not working in the same place for very long.
He said: “I have to write to 15 colleagues, and each of them has to write to 15 colleagues. There will be quite a lot of doctors spending quite a lot of time doing this.
“This may have some benefits but we are struggling to think what they are.”
He said in many cases a doctor may not know the answer to some of the questions and may not know the other doctor personally.
“You could have a document with many answers which simply say I don’t know or am unable to answer,” he said.