Medicopolitical Digest

Talks resume on GPs' out of hour workJunior doctor takes health authority to courtDoctors should not become tax collectorsBMA advises on doctors who become patients

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6982.808 (Published 25 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:808

General practitioners' representatives have resumed talks with the Department of Health in an attempt to resolve the out of hours issue. At the end of last year the General Medical Services Committee rejected the offer of a fixed payment of £2000 per principal for out of hours work and a new night visit fee of £9 (26 November 1994, p 1392). Last week the committee's chairman, Dr Ian Bogle, said, “I believe that a negotiated settlement is still possible,” but department officials have been left in no doubt that if negotiations break down the GMSC will consider sanctions.

Dr Bogle has already received the support of the BMA council to go down this road (11 March, p 618). If the GMSC decided to proceed with sanctions all general practitioner members of the BMA would be balloted and asked to support a graded series of sanctions. Nearly two dozen sanctions have been discussed with and cleared by the GMSC's legal advisers. The first sanction could be brought in within a month of a ballot. The chairman said that the plan would be to introduce a different sanction each month. It was important that sanctions did not harm patients, individual doctors, or practices. They were intended to bring increasing pressure on the government and have an impact on government planning, particularly the control of pubic expenditure.

The majority of GMSC members supported the proposed action, though there were several complaints that the matter was being dragged out, and the chairman was urged to put a deadline on the negotiations. Dr Peter Fellows from Gloucestershire did not like the idea of …

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