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GPC England's LMC Update: 10 February 2022

Calls on Government to begin negotiations for revised fit-for-purpose GP contract

In an extraordinary meeting today, where GPC England discussed the2022-23 proposals from NHS England for this year’s GP contract changes, the committee called on the Government to commence negotiations for the next GP contract, and to provide support for practices in meeting the ongoing demands placed on them in the wake of the pandemic.

During 2018, the BMA negotiated a five-year contract deal for general practice in England, with an agreement reached with NHS England in January 2019. Since then, details on implementation and additional amendments to the agreement have been negotiated annually.

However, as the deal was reached long before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the additional and unprecedented challenges it has brought for practices, the committee is calling on the Government to enter negotiations with GPCE for a refreshed, fit-for-purpose contract so that practices can ably take care of patients, and adequately respond to the needs of general practice going forward.

We also called for immediate support for practices in managing the record backlog in the communities, so as to safely care for our patients and laid out our intention to begin plans for a profession-wide consultation on the future of General Practice. Read our statement here

Vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) - what are your responsibilities now?

The Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid, announced last week that healthcare workers will not require COVID vaccination as a condition of deployment, which the BMA has welcomed due to the policy’s potentially devastating impact on workforce numbers.

However, there is still as professional responsibility for health and social care staff to be vaccinated. It is also a requirement for employers to ensure that employees are protected from infection. Non-vaccinated people should therefore be identified and their role should be risk assessed to identify whether or not they should be redeployed into a non-patient-facing role.

Each case will be different depending on the level of risk, the potential other mitigations, the reasons for not getting vaccinated, and the practice set-up. Read more in the BMA guidance on risk assessments, in particular the sections ‘After the risk assessment’ and ‘The approach in primary and secondary care’.

The BMA Employers Advisory Service will be able to advise practices as employers on an individual basis.

We recently published guidance for GPs and practices which includes a flowchart for practices dealing with vaccine hesitant staff. Note that this guidance is on hold following the announcement and further guidance will be available once the latest regulations are confirmed.

Infection prevention control and risk assessments

GPC England and the BMA’s Occupational Medicine Committee have now published guidance on risk assessments for practices to advise that employers should carry out risk assessments and provide mitigations to reduce risk of contracting COVID.

This follows our abbreviated guidance for practices on COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control published in January, which includes a template letter to CCGs requesting support with getting RPE supply.

GP workforce data

The latest GP workforce figures (from December 2021) have now been published. Following extensive lobbying by the BMA, the data once again include full estimates of the GP workforce (NHS Digital initially removed these estimates in August 2021). There have been several methodological changes since the estimates were last included so figures have been revised back to the start of collection in 2015. The data in this release and future releases is therefore not comparable to previous figures.

Data for December shows a decrease of the equivalent of 188 full time fully qualified GPs over the last year since December 2020. We now have the equivalent of 1,516 fewer fully qualified full time GPs than in 2015.

On a headcount basis, over the last year from December 2020 to December 2021 we have lost 454 GP Partners and gained 305 salaried GPs.

It is also worth noting that despite reductions in the fully qualified GP workforce, the average number of patients each GP is responsible for has increased by around 300 – or 15% - since 2015.

Read more about NHS pressures in our NHS under pressure hub, including GP workforce and pressures on our GP analysis page

2019/20 Pensions Annual Allowance Charge Compensation Policy

The application window for 2019/20 Pensions Annual Allowance Charge Compensation Policy applications is coming to an end and any GP with an annual allowance charge for 2019/20 needs to submit their employer sign off to PCSE by 11 February 2022 (albeit late applications will be processed if you have not received your information to submit this, or if your information changes post McCloud).

The Scheme Pays application needs to be in with NHSBSA by the hard deadline of 31 March 2022 (late applications will not be accepted, where you have still have not received your information we advise submitting an application with a nominal amount which can be amended at a later date, again another window will open for this if your AA position changes after McCloud).

Read more about the Pensions Annual Allowance Charge Compensation Policy on the PCSE website.

The BMA’s advice on annual allowance is available here

Read more about the McCloud judgement here

Pension tax seminars

NHSE/I are hosting a number of pension seminars in February for GPs aged 50 and over to address pensions and pension tax. There are 25 places available at each seminar, and slots will be offered on a first come, first served basis – book here

New to Partnership Payment Scheme Evaluation

NHSE/I are evaluating the structure and impact of the New to Partnership Payment Scheme to understand better how it is viewed by GPs, whether it has made a positive impact, either for you as new partners or in recruiting new partners to your practice. If you have received this grant payment and would be willing to share your experience and feedback, please get in touch by emailing england.newtopartnershipenquiries@nhs.net

GPC regional elections

Nominations are open for seats to the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) in the following regions:

  • Cambridgeshire/Bedfordshire

  • Hertfordshire

  • N&S Essex

  • Barking & Havering/Redbridge & Waltham Forest/City & E London

  • Cumbria & Lancs

  • Wigan & Bolton/Bury & Rochdale/W Pennine

  • Ayrshire & Arran/Borders/Dumfries & Galloway/Lanarkshire

  • S & W Devon/Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

  • Hamps & IoW

  • Kent

  • Surrey & Croydon

  • E Yorks/ N Lincs/ Lincs

  • Calderdale/Kirklees/Leeds/Wakefield.

All standard seats are for a three-year term, 2022-25 sessions, subject to governance structure review.

You must be a BMA member to stand in this election.

Please note that in previous years there was a requirement that only GPs who paid the voluntary levy could nominate themselves for election. That requirement has now been removed.

To submit your nomination for any of the above seats please visit https://elections.bma.org.uk/

The deadline for all nominations is 12pm Monday 7th March.

If you have any queries regarding the election process, please contact elections@bma.org.uk

Read our comprehensive guide for elected members, which includes a role profile.

Read more about the GPC and elections here

For any questions relating to the role or GPC please contact info.gpc@bma.org.uk

LMC Secretaries Conference 2022 – registering

Information has been sent out to register for the LMC Secretaries Conference 10 March 2022. The event will take place at Friends’ House, on Euston Road opposite Euston Station. An online application form for nominations is available here, with a closing date of 25 February 2022. Please contact the GPC office at info.lmcconference@bma.org.uk with any queries you have about the LMC Secretaries Conference.

GPC England – information and guidance

Read more about the work of the GPC England and practical guidance for GP practices

See the latest update on Twitter: @BMA_GP / Twitter @DrFJameel / Twitter

Read about BMA in the media: BMA media centre | British Medical Association

Read the latest GP bulletin (England) here

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