About the LMC
What is a Local Medical Committee?
The Local Medical Committee is the statutory body, recognised by successive NHS Acts as the professional organisation representing individual GPs and GPs as a whole to the Health Authority, PCTs, and soon StHAs.
The 1999 NHS Act extended the LMC role to include representation of all GPs whatever their contractual status. This includes GPs in Primary Care Act Pilots, GP non-principals and GP registrars.
The LMC represents the views of GPs to the NHSE, and to any other appropriate organisation or agency.
The LMC is an independent self-financing body with statutory functions. It is not a trade union. LMCs have been in existence since 1911, and constantly modernise to work effectively with the changing NHS.
The LMC is funded by a statutory/administrative levy paid by all GPs, whether GMS or PMS. The cost is dependent upon the number of patients on a practice's list and is covered by the expense component of the national pay award.
In addition to the statutory levy, GPs are asked to contribute to a voluntary levy, which is used to finance the LMC’s contribution to the national GMS Defence Fund which supports legal cases which are of significance for all GPs.
Elections take place regularly under terms stipulated in the LMC constitution which is approved by the Secretary of State for Health. Any GP may stand for election and we have constituencies on a PCT basis.
The LMC wishes to ensure a high quality service is delivered to patients within the resources available and is keen to see the development of primary care.
The LMC is committed to the values of:
Equity and Fairness
Representativeness – working to ensure that all advice we provide is representative of all GPs
Wherever possible, the LMC works co-operatively with Health Authorities, PCTs 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:
GP contracts, both independent and salaried, both GMS and PMS
The NHS regulations, the GPs’ Terms of Service and the PMS (Personal Medical Services) equivalent
GPs as providers of ‘intermediate care’ and enhanced GMS
Local Health Authority and Primary Care Trust (PCT) policy, including Primary Care Implementation Plans (PCIP) and the Health Improvement Programme (HimP)
The NHS complaints process and disciplinary procedures
Liaison with other agencies, including CHCs, local authority Social Services, voluntary services
PCTs introduce a radical new system of organising the commissioning of Hospital and Community Health Services (replacing previous models of Fundholding and GP/Health Authority commissioning) and the provision of General or Personal Medical Services by GPs
The LMC has the right to be consulted about the use of GMS resources by Health Authorities and PCTs
The LMC is responsible for ensuring that the allocation of resources is equitable
LMCs wish to ensure that GPs commissioned to provide traditional secondary care services are protected by being ‘approved’ and are properly recompensed
GPs as professionals:
Workforce planning, especially at a time of workforce crisis
Education and training – undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training, continuing professional development
Professionally-led regulation and professional standards – ethical, conduct and performance, including clinical governance
Liaison with consultant and hospital colleagues
Collaboration with the General Medical Council and consultation on its major proposals
Collaboration with allied professions – local dentists and pharmacists
Collaboration with national professional bodies – British Medical Association, Royal College of General Practitioners
Occupational health issues, e.g. sick doctors. The LMC must be consulted on and approve local proposals for occupational health schemes for GPs and their staff
Liaison with other professions allied to medicine
National representation and negotiation
The LMC represents local GPs’ views nationally through the professional representative mechanisms outlined below:
GPs can submit proposals to the LMC at any time.
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 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 on GMS, and the GPC is attempting to extend this to PMS GPs.
The Mid Mersey area has two spokespersons on the GPC to present our views and debate key issues.
Throughout the year, papers are produced by the GPC 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.
During 2001, the Government has delegated responsibility for negotiations on the GP contract to the NHS Confederation. The GPC is also responsible for the submission of evidence to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body for pay and expenses purposes.
The LMC consists of GPs elected on a PCT constituency basis, and includes representation from GMS and PMS GPs, non-principal GPs and GP registrars. In addition, members are co-opted when appropriate; e.g. GPs with educational expertise.
The LMC meets regularly in full session and between meetings in executive.
The LMC sends representatives to Health Authority, PCT, regional office and other meetings where appropriate.
The LMC works closely with the other LMCs in Mersey Region to ensure that GPs are represented at this level.
Links with other bodies
The LMC maintains an extensive network of formal and informal contact on behalf of GPs with bodies such as:
Local Area Teams
The Regional NHS office
The NHS Executive
Local Community Health Councils
General Practitioners Committee
Royal College of General Practitioners
Overseas Doctors Association
Small Practices Association
National Association of Primary Care
Members of Parliament
NHS Confederation (Associate member)
Helping individual GPs
The LMC provides help and advice to assist GPs steer through the NHS. Such help is available on all matters relevant to general practice including:
Workload issues and coping with change
GPs’ remuneration, incentive schemes, enhanced services
GPs’ terms and conditions of service, both GMS and PMS
Complaints, including accompanying GPs to Independent Reviews
Partnership affairs, advice on new and replacement partners
Any disputes which may occur between GPs and the PCTs of which they are part
Sick doctors and those with performance problems
The 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:
Newsletters - distributed to all GPs and practice managers after LMC meetings
Website at www.midmerseylmc.org.uk containing news, guidance notes, media coverage, and more
Professional meetings/seminars, conferences with key national speakers
Information bulletins on major issues and summaries of national guidance
The medical press
Practice networking arrangements
Open meetings; surveys
Consultation with specific GPs
Telephone, email, fax and mail