What are Local Medical Committees?
LMCs are statutory bodies, recognised by successive NHS Acts, as the professional organisation representing individual GPs. The 1999 NHS Act extended the role of LMCs to include representation of all GPs, whatever their contractual status. This includes GPs providing Personal Medical Services (PMS) and Sessional GPs. The LMC represents the views of GPs to the PCT, the NHS Executive and to any other appropriate organisations or agencies.
LMCs are independent, self financing bodies with statutory functions to represent the interests of general practice alone and act as its advocate. They are not trade unions.
LMCs are funded by statutory contributions from GPs in a contract with the NHS to provide General or Personal Medical Services and by other practitioners registered with the LMC from the Performers List. In addition, GPs are asked to contribute a voluntary levy, which is used to finance the LMC’s contribution to the national General Medical Services Defence Fund. Further information on LMC funding is available here.
LMC elections take place regularly under terms stipulated in the LMC Constitution. The Constitution has to be approved by the PCT. Any principal GP or Sessional GP that has chosen to be represented by the LMC can be nominated for election.
Doncaster LMC is committed to the values of equity, fairness, openness and equal opportunities. The LMC’s aim is to represent and support GPs, ensuring that they are valued, their skills are properly utilised and they are able to uphold appropriate standards of practice.
Wherever possible, Doncaster LMC works co-operatively with Doncaster PCT 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:
- GPs as providers of NHS services including
- GP contracts – both independent contractors and salaried
- The NHS Directions – Regulations, the GMS and PMS Terms of Service
- PCT policy
- The NHS complaints process and disciplinary procedures
- Liaison with other agencies including Social Services and voluntary services
- GPs as commissioners of services
- Relationships with Community and Acute Trusts
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 professional bodies, eg BMA, RCGP
- Occupational health issues, eg sick doctors
- Liaison with other professions allied to medicine
National Representation and Negotiation
LMCs represent local GPs’ views nationally through the professional representative mechanisms outlined below:
GPs can submit proposals to the LMC at any time. 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 Practitioner 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 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. Your GPC representative is Dr Trish Edney from Sheffield.
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 at the Annual 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 NHS Employers (on behalf of the Secretary of State) and the profession’s national negotiating team. 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.
Doncaster LMC consists of 19 GPs elected within three constituencies (coterminous with the old PCT areas). The LMC constitution allows for the inclusion of GP Principals and Sessional GPs. In addition, members are co-opted when appropriate. The LMC meets monthly. Representatives attend PCT and other meetings where appropriate. Doncaster LMC works closely with the other LMCs in the Yorkshire and the Humber SHA area to ensure that GPs are represented on a regional basis.
Links with other bodies
Doncaster LMC maintains an extensive network of formal and informal contact on behalf of GPs with bodies such as:
- Doncaster PCT
- General Practitioners' Committee
- South Yorks Regional LMCs
- NHS Executive
- DBH and RDaSH
Helping Individual GPs
Doncaster LMC provides help and advice to assist GPs steer through the NHS:
- GPs’ remuneration (SFE) and contractual issues
- Partnership affairs
- Completion of medical reports/certification
- Prescribing issues
- Any disputes which may occur between GPs and PCTs
- Pastoral Care
Doncaster LMC regards communication between representatives and constituent GPs as essential and is ever striving to improve this. The LMC communicates with GPs in many ways including:
- Distribution of Minutes of meetings
- LMC Update – a monthly newsletter distributed to all practices
- Consultation with specific GPs
- Information bulletins on major issues and summaries of national guidance
- Telephone, fax, e mail and mail.