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Local medical committees (LMCs) must help primary care network (PCN) clinical directors say ‘no’ to excessive workload, according to the BMA GP committee chair.
In his opening speech at the England LMCs conference last week (22 November), BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told delegates that they must not allow themselves or clinical directors to be ‘overwhelm[ed]’ by the extra work coming from PCNs, in addition to practice work.
Dr Vautrey warned delegates of the risk of misunderstanding PCNs as ‘just another NHS organisation’ and the potential of overloading clinical directors with unsolvable problems.
He said: ‘It’s vitally important that we support and protect clinical directors. There is clearly a risk that those who don’t fully understand PCNs will see them as just another NHS organisation and overload them with all the problems no one else has been able to solve for decades.
‘Earlier this year, we launched a survey of clinical directors and preliminary results have found that almost half classed their own workload as unmanageable, while nearly two-thirds said the same about practice workload.
He added: ‘You have an important lesson to offer and a word to teach them. You need to help them to say “No”.’
‘Unsafe’ workload a ‘huge’ issue
Dr Vautrey added that the BMA is under no illusion that the new five-year contract it negotiated with the Government will solve all of general practice’s problems.
He said: ‘We still have a huge task to do to reduce unsafe workload burdens, to change the ridiculous pension arrangements that penalise hard-working GPs, to resolve problems with premises, to deal with the repeated failings of Capita, to attract and retain more GPs and above all to improve GP morale.
‘These are all huge issues that impact GPs and practices day after day and we will not rest until we have resolved them.’
Dr Vautrey also addressed the changes needed within the BMA, referring to the review of sexism within the BMA, which found that committee members treat women as of less importance.
He said: ‘We also need to recognise when we are the ones that need to change, when we could learn and do better. The Romney Report, commissioned by the BMA following serious concerns raised by female GPs, should not only be read by all of us, but should be acted on by all of us.
‘Every GP and every member of staff, whether in the BMA, LMCs, practices, out-of-hours organisations, CCGs or any NHS organisation both locally and nationally, deserves dignity, courtesy, kindness and respect.’