What is the Local Medical Committee?
The Local Medical Committee is a statutory body, recognised by successive NHS Acts as the professional organisation representing individual GPs and GP Practices as a whole to NHS England, CCGs and Public Health. The 1999 NHS Act extended the LMC role to include representation of all GPs whatever their contractual status. This includes GP non-principals and GP registrars. The LMC represents the views of GPs to any other appropriate organisation or agency.
The LMC is an independent self-financing body with statutory functions. It is not a trade union. This is the role of the BMA. The LMC functions as a trade association.
The LMC is funded by contributions from GP Practices in a contract with the NHS to provide General Medical Services, Personal Medical Services or APM Services, and by practitioners registered with the LMC as non-contracted GPs, such as non-principals. In addition, GPs are asked to pay a levy, which is used to finance the LMC’s contribution to the national GP Defence Fund.
Elections take place regularly under terms stipulated in the LMC constitution. In Avon elections take place every four years. Any GP who practices within the LMC’s area may be nominated for election.
The LMC shares the desire of anyone who wishes to ensure a high quality service is delivered to patients within the resources available to GPs. The LMC is committed to the values of:
- Avon LMC’s commitment to General Practice is at the forefront of all the organisation’s actions
- This commitment is demonstrated in all the services that we provide to our Practices
- Each individual is committed to serving the General Practice community
- We ensure that we always act with integrity in the provision of our services
- We ensure that we always act with integrity when we represent our members in any situation
- We ensure we act in an equitable and fair manner, both externally to Practices, and internally towards each other
- We serve all our Practices and their staff members equitably, no matter what the situation
- We maintain a culture of openness and transparency in our dealings with Practices and our dealings with our colleagues
- We are always open to new ideas and suggestions from our members and from our staff about how we can best support both groups
Wherever possible, the LMC works co-operatively with NHS England, local CCGs and other organisations to ensure patients receive services and care in accordance with the profession’s local and national priorities. Wherever necessary, the LMC robustly defends the profession’s views when those of others conflict with what, we believe is in our patients’ best interests. The LMC represents and advises on all matters concerning:
GP Practices as providers of NHS Services including:
- GP contracts – both independent and salaried
- The NHS Directions – regulations
- NHS England’s, CCGs’ and local Public Health Departments’ policies
- The NHS complaints process and disciplinary procedure
- Liaison with other agencies, including NHS Trusts, Local Authority Social Services and voluntary services.
GP Practices as commissioners of services including:
- Relationships with Community and Acute Trusts
- The LMC has the right to be consulted about the use of GMS resources by NHS England , CCGs Local Authority Public Health Departments
GPs as professionals:
- Education and training – undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training, continuing professional development
- Professionally-led regulation and professional standards – ethical, conduct and performance, including clinical governance
- Workforce Planning
- Liaison with consultant and hospital colleagues
- Collaboration with the General Medical Council
- Collaboration with national and professional bodies – British Medical Association and Royal College of General Practitioners
- Occupational health issues e.g. sick doctors
- Liaison with other professionals allied to medicine
- Development of Practice staff and partnerships
National Representation and Negotiation
The LMC represents local GP practice views nationally through the professional representative mechanisms outlined below:
GPs can submit proposals to their LMC at any time, but have a specific opportunity to do so at the annual open meeting, normally in July. In addition, proposals are distilled from debate at the LMC over the course of the year for submission to the Annual Conference of LMCs.
The ‘parliament’ for GPs is the General Practitioners committee (GPC) which meets monthly throughout the year. The GPC is the Standing Committee of the British Medical Association with full authority to deal with matters affecting NHS GPs, whether or not they are BMA members. It is recognised by the Department of Health as NHS GPs negotiating body. Every part of the country has at least one spokesperson on the GPC to present its views and debate key issues. 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.
National debate and policy setting
GPC representatives and LMC representatives meet annually at the National Conference of LMCs. Proposals from individual LMCs across the country are debated alongside those from the GPC. The outcome of the debate determines the framework for the profession’s negotiations at both national and local levels.
This takes place continually between the Secretary of State and his/her team of negotiators and the profession’s national negotiating team. The Secretary of State’s team is supported by the senior civil service, the NHSE and the resources of the NHS. The profession’s national negotiating team is elected annually by members of the GPC, 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 for pay purposes.
The LMC consists of GPs elected on a constituency basis, and includes representation from GMS, PMS and APMS GPs, non-principal GPs and GP registrars. In addition, members are co-opted when appropriate. The LMC Main Committee meets five times a year. Representatives attend other meetings where appropriate. The LMC also works closely with other LMCs within the South West to ensure that GPs are represented on a regional basis.
Helping Individual GPs and Practices
The LMC provides help and advice to assist GPs and Practice Managers steer through the NHS. Such 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 NHS England and /or CCGs of which they are part
The LMC regards communication between representatives, constituent GPs and Practices as essential, and is ever striving to improve this. The LMC communicates with GPs and Practices in many ways including:
- Monthly Bulletins – distributed to all GPs and practices
- Website at www.avonlmc.co.uk containing news, guidance notes, media coverage and more
- Professional meetings/seminars/conferences
- The medical press
- Information bulletins on major issues and summaries of national guidance
- Consultation with specific GPs
- Telephone, email, fax and mail
- Annual report
- Local LMC representative