Thursday, 29 May 2014

British Medical Association/ Annual LMC Conference 2014

BMA Sessional GP Subcommittee Rep

As a nationally-elected BMA sessional GP subcommittee rep, I was invited to attend the annual LMC conference in York. I would encourage all locums and salaried GPs to run for the BMA sessional GP subcommittee and get involved. You don't even have to be a member of the BMA to run for this subcommittee so all sGPs apply. You are paid an honorarium of £460 to attend the subcommittee meetings and expenses are covered. Bear in mind, that if you run for BMA Council, you will not be paid an honorarium until after you have attended 15 council meetings! Yes, I did raise concerns that this may exclude  locum GPs from applying for BMA Council as they do not get a fixed practice salary. I must say, it may even preclude me from serving the full 4 years as most of the years will be unpaid.

LMC Conference

At the LMC conference, you are allowed to speak on any motion in the 87-page conference agenda if the agenda committee calls your name.

Here are the members of the General Practitioners Committee and secretariat who listen and add their thoughts and comments made to and against motions. Their role is to negotiate with the government and NHS England, the LMC motions that pass on majority vote by the conference.

As a BMA sGP rep, I was not allowed to speak at the soapbox but instead, was given ample opportunity to address the conference on the speaker podium. Do turn in lots of speaker slips to the agenda committee on the morning of day 1 of the 2-day conference to increase your chances of being called to speak. The BMA then records all speakers on a livestream webcast. At a time when the very existence of general practice is under threat of imminent demise, it is important that GPs, young and old, speak up and voice their concerns.
Here I spoke up for locum GPs who are having difficulty securing work in the NHS when the government has changed the rules, so that practices must be burdened with making locum GP pension contributions instead of Primary Care Trusts. I ask to ring-fence the money given to practices to cover pension contributions for locum GPs they hire. I also cover how enterprising young locum GPs are thinking outside of the box. Do remember to check with practices that they have made the correct pension contribution on your behalf and ask for an annual NHS pension statement. Alternatively some locums have avoided the hassle by switching to a private SIPP which allows them to cash out at age 55 and not 68.

LMC Conference Dinner at the National Rail Museum


I was fortunate enough to be seated at the LMC dinner table with Dr Tony Grewal, Medical Director of Londonwide LMC as well as LMC GP reps for Hackney, Bromley, Southwark and Lewisham, all men! Time for more female GPs to try their hand at medical politics! We have a lot to say!

Day 2 of the LMC Conference

Here I spoke on Motion 50 contract negotiation and spoke about negotiations tools, leverage. If we have an 87-page LMC agenda of wants (asking, demanding, negotiating) from government, we also need to negotiate with leverage or tools such as used by the late Bob Crow, industrial action, strike, work to rule, 2 week OOHs boycott, mass resignation from the NHS GP contract, etc. as the bigger political picture is to shut down the NHS. We need drastic measures to save general practice from becoming a salaried service under APMS.
Here I spoke on Motion 53 and of how the NHS has been used as a political football in every general election, and that it was time to take the NHS out of the playing field. How voters have been able to demand we NHS GPs work 8-8, 7 days a week, burnout and work to an early grave. I am poignantly reminded of a Liverpool GP partner, a wonderful former student of mine, who ended his life earlier this year at the tender age of 53.
Here I spoke on Motion 54 and suggest making the public, financial stakeholders, to encourage shared management, in order to make a national strategy for self-care work. At the moment, the public have little incentive to self-improve.