The LMC conference was a 2 day festival of voting, slip-waving and speeches. Before I get carried away with what happened, I’m acutely aware that the whole thing is a mystery to many colleagues. So the basic guide is:
- All GPs across the UK are represented by their local medical committee (LMC). This should be made up of a variety of GPs in the area, partners and sessional, who then send representatives to the LMC conference every year. The idea is your LMC listens to you, and takes your views and concerns to conference.
- The LMC conference then discusses these issues, votes on them, and instructs the General Practitioners Committee (GPC – the next level up), on what we want it to do. The GPC is the GP part of the BMA, in the same way the Junior Doctors Committee (JDC) is their part of the BMA.
- The conference is meant to be a chance for the ordinary jobbing GP to have their voices heard by the people representing the profession.
This time, a whole range of topics were covered including funding and workload in general practice, the future general practice workforce, and reducing CQC and appraisal burden. It sounds strange to say the whole thing was exhausting, but sitting in a full conference room with speech after speech on all the many problems we are all facing left me feeling pretty frazzled.
The way the conference was run was a bit different this year, with lots of open discussion on a few key themes on the first day but no clear “yes/no” votes. Instead, we were asked to score on 1-6 how happy we were with the current approach of GPC. This wasn’t that easy, and it wasn’t clear what would happen if there were more 3s than 4s for a given discussion.
There was then a chance for smaller groups to discuss key topics, including training of a new GP workforce, with the contentious topic of non-GP practitioners coming up frequently. It got a bit easier with some of the straightforward votes on decent IT services being provided to practices, and the unrealistic expectations of a 7 day service. But as I type this I’m aware how unbearably dull it sounds, and how far removed from the stresses of daily practice.