The BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) has voted in favour of pushing for LMCs to be represented on the boards of integrated care systems (ICSs).
It comes days before ICSs become statutory bodies (1 July) and take over commissioning responsibilities from CCGs.
The motion, which was supported by 83% of delegates, said ‘this meeting recommends that all ICS boards should have representation from [local negotiating committees] and LMCs to ensure clinical input in future plans for service delivery’.
GPs had previously warned that the ‘vital expertise’ of GPs could be lost with the demise of CCGs, with more to be done to prevent ‘tokenistic’ GP representation on ICSs.
And last week, Pulse revealed that only GPs with PCN director experience will be eligible to apply to sit on ICBs in some areas of England, prompting criticism that LMCs were essentially excluded.
Speaking in favour of the motion, BMA regional council chair for the East of England Dr Devender Khurana said: ‘The key contributors for the healthcare service are healthcare workers, which in team structure are directly led by the doctors.
‘Despite this well-known fact, doctors are not directly represented on the ICS board or ICS partnerships.
He added: ‘This is the right time for the BMA to insist on LNCs and LMCs representation on the integrated care partnerships of the ICS, so that vital knowledge is shared on the table and decisions about working practices of the doctors and ways of service delivery are not made without their knowledgeable input.’
Commenting on the passed motion, deputy chair of BMA council deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said: ‘ICBs must ensure that they harness the depth and breadth of expertise that doctors from all walks of life can provide.
‘[LMCs] and [LNCs] are a vital voice for doctors and must have formal roles within ICSs and their substructures.’
Commenting on the motion, Kevin Lavery, chief executive designate of the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB said: ‘We have recognised the importance of primary care input on our board as part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board constitution that has already been published, which includes a partner member for Primary Medical Services. We will continue to consider governance recommendations and guidance that is shared from the national team.’
Doctors attending the BMA’s ARM today also voted in favour of the BMA organising for GP practices to withdraw from PCNs by next year.