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LMC recommends GPs ‘do not participate’ in NHSE plan


By Caitlin Tilley
19 October 2021

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Pulse exclusive An LMC has advised practices ‘not to participate in any aspect’ of NHS England’s measures to improve access to general practice.

The plans have ‘no contractual standing’ and there is ‘no requirement’ for practices to engage or respond, Surrey and Sussex LMCs (SSLMCs) said in a letter sent to local practices yesterday.

The letter from SSLMCs chief executive Dr Julius Parker, seen by Pulse, said: ‘In view of this recommendation by NHS England to extra-contractual performance management, SSLMCs advises all practices not to participate in any aspect of these proposals, until and only if, local negotiations can achieve a genuinely valuable and clinically evidenced alternative process.’

It added that NHS England’s suggested timescales, including for ICSs to submit a list of practices with the lowest levels of face-to-face appointments by 28 October, are ‘completely unrealistic’ and will be ‘based on incomplete, unevidenced data’.

It said: ‘NHS England’s timescales, and therefore CCG timescales, should be of no concern to practices: you are under no obligation to respond to any requests for meetings, discussion, reflection, analysis or to provide any commentary if the CCG contact you about what will be the inadequate data which they are obliged to rely on.’

The LMC advised practices not to engage with NHS England’s ‘disastrous’ plan unless CCGs can ‘transform’ it ‘into something which might be of tangible benefit to practices and therefore the care provided to patients’. 

It said: ‘At this point the LMC does not recommend practices engage with this initiative or respond to it. It has no contractual standing and there is no requirement to do so.’

In an accompanying analysis of the NHS support plan, also seen by Pulse, the LMC said: ‘It is important to also note that this plan is imposed, it has not been subject to negotiation with either GPC or the BMA.’

It added: ‘The LMC is planning further communications with all practices on this issue and understands GPC is also hoping to do the same.’

The letter also said the GP support package is ‘politically motivated’ and ‘pander[s] to popular campaigns in sections of the press’.

GPs working for CCGs are not as ‘constrained’ as those working in CCG manager roles and ‘should be prepared to say what they think’, while GPs ‘should be clear in their views to their PCN clinical directors’, the letter added. 

It said: ‘GPs do have a choice – none of these proposals are written into your contract and on none of these targets can your practices be performance managed.

‘You can, and I am sure will wish to, ignore any attempts to do so.’

It added: ‘The LMC strongly recommends GP colleagues, practice managers and other members of the team focus on their continuing efforts to provide safe, and responsive patient care; efforts that speak volumes about your dedication and commitment.’

NHS England’s package of support for GPs, announced last week, was met with fierce criticism from GPs and their leaders.

Among other things, the package includes plans for patients to rate GP practices in ‘real time’ via text message and practices to employ retired secondary care doctors, including geriatricians.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.

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