I last wrote to you on the eve of the local medical committees conference in York. In my first speech to the conference as GPs committee chair, I highlighted the parlous state of general practice: how it is facing workload, workforce and premises crises, with morale at an all-time low. I warned that ministers ignore this at their peril, since destabilising general practice will have dramatic adverse repercussions on the wider NHS. I put forward to government a clear programme of action, arguing that investing in general practice is the indisputable solution to achieving a sustainable NHS.
Despite all the challenges and pressures, this year's conference was very much looking forward, with a renewed self-belief in our fundamental role in keeping the NHS afloat and a spirit of collective determination to fight for a secure future for GPs and our patients. There was rich debate on the range of issues facing GPs, and our guest speaker chief executive of the King's Fund Professor Chris Ham delivered a thought-provoking presentation on future models of general practice.
For the vast majority of you who have never experienced an LMC conference, you can visit our website to watch a webcast of the proceedings, watch or read my opening speech, and find out more about conference highlights.
Underpinning the mood and debates at the LMC conference was the Your GP cares campaign, which received very positive feedback and support from GP representatives. We premiered the Your GP cares campaign film, which I encourage you to watch. You can also download it to display in your waiting rooms.
I hope you will continue to help us lobby for a better future for general practice by joining the campaign. Your campaign membership will only be used to demonstrate the strength of support for long-term, sustainable investment in general practice, so that we can:
Find out more about the campaign and what you can do in your practice to support it.
We are continuing to fight for practices hit by the imposed phasing out of the MPIG (minimum practice income guarantee). I wrote an open letter to the chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens, calling for urgent action to protect practices and patients. Please contact your LMC if these cuts are having an adverse impact on your services to patients, or threatening your viability as a practice.
Tomorrow, I will be joining fellow London GPs on a march through Tower Hamlets, where GPs fear MPIG cuts will increase the health inequalities they have striven to reduce over the past 20 years.
We also continue to lobby NHS England not to strip £235 million from PMS (personal medical services) budgets, and to retain this money for use by practices so you can provide stretched but essential GP services for patients. We are hearing of widely varying approaches to PMS reviews by different area teams, and I would urge practices undergoing a review to contact your LMC for assistance. Please also see our recently published GPC guidance on PMS.
And finally, you are reminded that we recently published a step-by-step guide on how to implement the unplanned admissions enhanced service. This guidance is designed to make it easier for you to achieve the requirements of the enhanced service. It also includes optional templates for ongoing completion by practices, to help you satisfy reporting requirements.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul
BMA GPs Committee chair
For all the latest information, please visit bma.org/gpc
It has been another strong fortnight for GPC in the media. I was interviewed in a special BBC Radio 4 File on Four documentary on the pressures on general practice, together with north-east GP Julian Fester, whom the BMA also featured on the topic of MPIG cuts back in February.
The LMC conference received wide publicity, with the Guardian previewing my speech and the Times, Telegraph, Independent and Daily Mirror following up the next day. The controversial issue of charging patients, received favourable coverage after GPs defeated the motion. We appeared in the Sun, Daily Express, Yorkshire Post and on BBC news, and the issue featured on broadcast news, including BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, Good Morning Britain, the ITV lunchtime news and even Loose Women. Additionally, I was interviewed by BBC Radio London, while your deputy chair Richard Vautrey appeared on the BBC News and a number of BBC regional radio stations.
The Your GP cares campaign has also continued to generate positive coverage regionally, including in York's Press, which published an opinion piece from local GP John Lethem on the first day of the conference. Elsewhere, BMA council deputy chair Kailash Chand had an opinion piece published in the Manchester Evening News; GPC negotiator Beth McCarron-Nash wrote for GP Online; and GPC trainees subcommittee chair Krishna Kasaraneni for the Yorkshire Post. We have also had numerous stories and letters published from GPC members, including Ian Hume and Katie Bramall-Stainer.
My letter to Simon Stevens on MPIG also featured in the Independent and the Yorkshire Post. And last week the Independent used my letter again as part of its profile of a Hackney GP who has launched a local petition against the cuts. This also includes a video of me discussing changes to funding.
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