Local medical committees
LMCs are the only organisations recognised by statute (the NHS Act 2006 as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012) as the bodies representing all the NHS GPs practising in an area. Statutory recognition of LMCs is also statutorily enshrined in the GMS contract regulations and the GP Performers List regulations.
Although there have been countless changes within the NHS and community care, the Local Medical Committees across the UK are the single element of continuity throughout all the re-organisations since the NHS was inaugurated with statutory functions set out by Act of Parliament. Indeed the statutory status of LMCs pre-dates the NHS and dates back to 1911. Birmingham LMC is made up of democratically elected GP members elected from among their peers in accordance with the terms of the LMCs constitution. The electoral term is four years, with the next one due in October 2019.
Work of the LMC
Birmingham LMC is proactive in keeping abreast of all local and national issues affecting general practice as soon as they arise. We keep aware of the NHS England policies and activities to ensure any issues affecting GPs and their practices are dealt with appropriately. Similarly, we also liaise closely and work with the CCGs and local authority and all other relevant bodies in the local health economies and STPS.
The LMC works with and liaises closely with the BMA General Practitioners Committee (GPC) in order to ensure that all national issues affecting general practice are quickly acted upon and important guidance disseminated locally soon as it is available.
LMCs influence the policies of the GPC on a national level, particularly through submission of motions to the National Annual Conference of LMCs to which Birmingham LMC actively contributes. Apart from the statutory functions, Birmingham LMC undertake a range of pastoral care and support functions advising individual GPs and practices in difficulties and various other functions determined by the needs of GPs and their practices, which include:
- Advice on all areas related to GP contracts and funding ( including essential and enhanced services, QOF, premises funding issues);
- Advice on practice and partnership mergers and other important strategic issues
- Support and guidance on practice resilience and sustainability
- Support and guidance on Primary Care Networks (PCNs), working at scale, new models of care, the STP and integrated care agendas
- Advice on all issues related to CCG membership and engagement
- Care Quality Commission registration and compliance; advice and support following practice inspections and ratings
- Appraisal and revalidation advice
- Support and advice on complaint handling
- GP Performers list and all other professional performance issues
- Contractual performance issues
- Premises advice including improvements and developments and issues with NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships( LIFT landlord) and service charge disputes
- Problems encountered at the interface with secondary and community care
- Retirement from practice (we are unable to give specific pensions advice)
- General advice on partnership agreements( we are unable to give formal legal or financial advice)
- Partnership disputes
- Sickness and absences
- Support, advice, and escalation of problems related to primary care support services
- Advice on fees for non-NHS work including the collaborative arrangements for local authority work
- Practice Manager Peer Support Group( NB whilst we may be able to give general advice on staffing and managerial issues we are unable to give specific or specialist employment advice)
- Liaison with local dental, pharmaceutical and optical committees
If there are any issues or concerns affecting you or your practice that you feel the LMC might be able to help you with or that you believe it should be made aware of please let us know- phone us on 0121-454 5008 or email us using the facility here on the website.
Birmingham LMC is funded by its GPs through the collection of levies on its behalf by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS England), in accordance with statute. The Statutory Levy (for GMS practices) and the Administrative Levy (for PMS practices) fund the work of the LMC on behalf of its GPs and practices. These levies allow all practice partners and employed GPs working within a practice, to benefit from the LMC’s advice and support. Freelance locum GPs can also be represented by the LMC by signing up to a levy mandate and paying an administrative levy.
As well as the statutory/administrative levies practices may choose to sign an additional voluntary levy. This funds Birmingham LMC’s contribution to the work of the GPC through the General Practitioners Defence Fund (GPDF) www.gpdf.org.uk which supplements BMA funding of the GPC and other activity for the benefit of LMCs and general practitioners nationally. The additional voluntary levy also funds small payments to certain medical charities which have historical links to Birmingham general practice. Payment of the additional voluntary levy also allows GPs to vote in and to stand for regional elections to the GPC.
ALL LMC LEVIES ARE FULLY TAX-DEDUCTIBLE EXPENSES.
The origins of LMCs go back to the 1911 Lloyd George state health insurance scheme. The BMA at that time was determined that the profession should have a voice in its day-to-day running. It ensured that locally elected committees of GPs were recognised in the 1911 National Insurance Act as the representative voice of the panel doctors. Local Medical Committees are still recognised under the Health and Social Care Act as formally representing the interests of the GPs in their area.
Many worthy doctors have led and influenced the LMC in the hundred years of its existence. Two, however, merit special mention for the impact they made at national level, thereby having a direct effect on the health of the whole UK population. One was Sir Guy Dain (see picture, right) and the other Dr Solomon (Solly) Wand (see picture, below, left). Guy Dain, a GP who practised in Selly Oak, was Chairman of the LMC from 1915 to 1937. He was also the BMA’s national Chairman in the immediate post-war period and was responsible for the delicate and difficult negotiations between the profession and the Atlee Government that secured the co-operation of doctors in the formation of the National Health Service in 1948. Dr Solly Wand, who practised in Balsall Heath, was an LMC member for over 50 years. He, too, held many high offices within the BMA including both Chairman of Council and Chairman of the General Medical Services Committee, the forerunner to today’s GPC. Solly achieved many notable negotiating successes on behalf of the profession but none greater than securing a 100% increase in GPs’ fees in 1952. Their combined achievements led to the view then held by many doctors, that the BMA was merely a sub-committee of the Birmingham LMC!