GP representatives have voted unanimously to ballot the profession on potential industrial action, and the possibility of signing undated resignations.
Local medical committees this morning backed a motion to ballot in response to what it said was an “inadequate” response to the sector’s problems in NHS England’s General Practice Forward View.
The motion proposed by Tower Hamlets LMC asked the LMC conference, held today and yesterday, to consider the GPFV document as “grounds for a trade dispute” unless the government agreed to accept alternative measures proposed by the British Medical Association GP committee last month.
Londonwide LMCs chief executive Michelle Drage argued in favour of balloting for industrial action and told the conference: “The GP Forward View is not the rescue package we demanded at the special conference [held earlier this year]… At best it’s a distraction.
“Where is the stabilisation that the Five Year Forward View originally said would be delivered to GPs by October 2016?”
Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA GP committee, told the conference that if it were to ballot on industrial action, the profession would “need a narrative” for action.
He said: “What the junior [doctors] had was a narrative - a very clear narrative, about the weekend working, an issue about the impossibility of extending five days into seven, the issue about unfairness…
“We don’t have quite the same focussed narrative but we need to develop one if we are to be able to explain it to the public.”
The conference has also voted to reject moves by the government to introduce caps on locum pay in general practice, and compulsory reporting on locum rates, and in favour of charges for overseas patients for GP visits.
The motion backed by the LMC conference said:
”That conference does not accept the General Practice Forward View is an adequate response to the GPCs statement of need within the BMAs Urgent Prescription for General Practice, and considering this to be sufficient grounds for a trade dispute, unless the government agrees to accept the Urgent Prescription [previously put forward by the GPC] within three months of this conference, the GPC should ask the BMA to:
“(i) ballot the profession on their willingness to sign undated resignations
“(ii) ballot the profession on their willingness to take industrial action
“(iii) ballot the profession as to what forms of industrial action they are prepared to take
“(iv) produce a report to practices on the options for taking industrial action that doesn’t breach their contracts”