What is a local medical committee
Local Medical Committees are the bodies recognised by successive NHS Acts as the professional organisation representing individual GPs and GP practices as a whole.
They have existed since the passing of the Local Insurance Act in 1911 when they worked in partnership with the Local Insurance /committees to ensure that the services of “Panel GPs” were available to lower paid workers. Over the years LMCs have provided impressive continuity and expanded their role in the face of many changes in NHS structure.
The 1999 NHS Act extended the role to include representation of all GPs whatever their contractual status. This includes GMS GPs, PMS GPs, Sessional GPs and GP registrars.
Broad functions of local medical committees (lmcs)
- To seek and represent the spectrum of GP views
- To acquire wide ranging expertise to support GPs
- To advise GPs and practices in anything relevant and within LMC competence
- To help GPs in difficulty through ill-health, poor performance and relationships with colleagues
- To disseminate usable guidance on all issues relating to GP activity
- To advise organisations both inside and outside the NHS on all GP matters
- To troubleshoot areas that affect GPs ability to perform their job enjoyably and well
- To facilitate earning opportunities for GPs
- To raise the profile of general practice and promote the worth of GPs
- To seek to limit any damage to GP interests resulting from the decisions of others
- To defend the profession’s views when those of others conflict with what we believe is in our patients’ best interests
- To represent local GP practice views nationally
- local representation and structure
The LMC consists of GP representatives elected on a constituency basis every 3 years. The constituencies comprise practices serving a total of more than 500,000 patients. Additionally members are co-opted when appropriate to provide additional expertise.
The agreed processes and rules of the LMC and the limited company are stipulated in its approved written constitution. Any GP registered with the LMC as a contractor or sessional GP may be nominated for and vote in an election.
The Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Medical Secretary are appointed by the Committee, and usually serve for 3 years in these posts. The business of the Committee and Company is managed by the Company Secretary
The LMC meets most months in full session on the second Friday of the month. It does not usually meet in August. It is an independent self financing body with both statutory and voluntary functions. The LMC is not a Trade Union. That is the role of the BMA.
The LMC Office is based in Cwmbran House at Mamhilad Park and is open 4 days a week. Contact can be via email, telephone or letter.
Gwent Local Medical Committee Ltd is a company limited by guarantee and is registered at Company’s House under registration number 6568395. It does not provide legal or financial advice.
The LMC regards good communication between the Office, representatives, constituent GPs and practices as essential. The routes used include:
- Emails to practices of important information
- Bimonthly Newsletters – emailed to all practices for distribution internally to GPs, and copies through the post
- Consultation with practices
- Consultation with specific GPs
- Telephone, email and post
- Annual report
- Local LMC representatives
Funding of lmc
The LMC is funded by capitation based contributions from GP practices – the Statutory levy. Additionally GPs are asked voluntarily to contribute to a national levy which is used to fund the LMC’s contribution to the national GMS Defence Fund which pays for the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) of the BMA. Some self employed locums also pay the levy where they have no allegiance to one practice.
Helping individual gps and practices
The LMC provides help and advice to assist GPs and practice managers navigate through the NHS. Help is available on all matters relevant to general practice including;
- GPs’ remuneration
- GPs’ terms and conditions of service
- Partnership affairs
- Employment matters
- Any disputes which may occur between GPs and the LHBs of which they are part
Detailed lmc activity
The LMC represents and advises on all matters concerning:-
1. GP practices as providers and users of NHS services including:
- GP contracts both independent and salaried
- The NHS Regulations and Directions, and Statements of Financial Entitlement
- Local Health Boards and Trust policy and plans
- The NHS complaints process and disciplinary procedures
- Liaison with other agencies, NHS Trusts, local authority Social Services and Voluntary services
- Relationships with LHBs and Trust
- The interface with Acute Trusts
- The use of GMS resources by LHB and Health Authority
2. GPs as professionals:-
- Education, training and continuing professional development – undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training
- Professionally-led regulation and professional standards, ethical conduct and performance, including clinical governance
- Workforce planning
- Liaison with consultant and hospital colleagues
- Collaboration with the LHB performance committees, general medical Council and NCAS
- Collaboration with national professional bodies – British Medical Association, Royal College of Practitioners
- Occupational Health issues e.g. sick doctors
- Liaison with other professions allied to medicine
- Development of practice staff and partnerships
National gp representation
The national representative committee for GPs in the UK is the General Practitioners Committee (GPC UK). In Wales we have our own branch – General Practitioners Committee (Wales) (GPC W) with some representatives on GPC UK. The GPC is the craft committee of the British medical Association with full authority to deal with all matters affecting NHS GPs, whether or not they are BMA members. It is recognised by the Department of health as NHS GPs’ sole negotiating body. Every part of the UK has at least one spokesperson on the GPC to present its views and debate issues at monthly meetings. Throughout the year papers are produced for discussion at LMCs and from time to time the GPC consults all GPs directly through surveys and questionnaires. Advisory papers are also produced for the membership.
GPC Wales has a continuous dialogue with the Assembly Minister for Health, just as the GPC does with the National Minister of Health. This takes place through the GPC negotiators who are elected annually by the GPC (GPC W).
The Secretary of State’s team/Welsh Minister’s team is supported by the senior civil service, the NHSE and the resources of the NHS and is supported by other professionals including public affairs and relations staff.
The issues negotiated nationally mirror those at local level, but also include the submission of evidence to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body.
GPC Wales representatives and Welsh LMC representatives meet annually for a Welsh Conference in the spring, and debate motions received from local LMCs. The National Conference of LMCs meets in June and members attend on the basis of the numbers of doctors in their LMC area with members of the GPC. Similarly motions for debate are submitted by LMCs and members of the GPC for debate the outcome of which may determine the broad direction of the profession’s national negotiations.