“The aim of Beds and Herts LMC Ltd is to support GPs and practices to aspire to excellence in patient care by advising on and promoting the development of all aspects of general practice”
Local Medical Committees (LMC) are statutory organisations recognised in the NHS Act since 1948 as the only elected professional body representing all local GPs. Set up in 1911, they predate the NHS and have played pivotal roles in facilitating the functioning of the NHS. They have survived many NHS re-organisations and have adapted when necessary to new NHS structures. Area Teams have a statutory duty to consult with their local LMC on certain issues.
Because of their adaptability, the way local LMCs are structured varies around the country. For Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire there is one LMC covering the two counties, and the main committee delegates all its strategic and policy functions to two sub-committees – one for Bedfordshire (including Luton) and one for Hertfordshire. The sub-committees are made up of elected GP representatives and are supported by a secretariat team based in Stevenage. In 2006, the Beds and Herts LMC became incorporated as Beds and Herts LMC Ltd allowing us to expand the services we provide whilst ensuring adequate liability insurance for all LMC representatives.
Even though the LMC is a Limited Company it remains a not-for-profit organisation, limited by guarantee only: there are no share-holders and no one benefits from dividends. Any profit made is put back into the organisation and used for the benefit of GPs and their practices and helps to keep the levy as low as possible.
Values of Beds and Herts LMC Ltd
Beds and Herts LMC Ltd prides itself on having strong values of openness, fairness, equity and trustworthiness. We strongly support development of high quality general practice, in order that patients may receive excellent health care. It extols the virtues of teamwork and multidisciplinary practice, and facilitates this wherever possible. It does not condone or support poor performance or poor professional behaviour in any way, however, it will support colleagues going through performance or disciplinary procedures in order to ensure they are dealt with fairly and appropriately. In summary, we believe that on the whole ‘If it’s good for patients, it’s good for GPs’.
Roles and Functions of Beds and Herts LMC Ltd
As the representative body for all GPs in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, the LMC Ltd supports practices in several ways including:
- Negotiating on behalf of practices with the Area Team, CCGs and other organisations on issues that affect general practice.
- Supporting individual practices going through periods of difficulty (such as partnership disagreements, contractual problems or performance issues).
- Providing practices with information about local and national health policies, contracts, and legal and ethical matters pertaining to the running of the complex business of general practice, through a multitude of mechanisms including courses and lectures, a comprehensive website, regular newsletters and direct mailing. The LMC is also happy to advise the Area Team, CCG or Local Authority staff on any of these areas.
LMCs are statutory organisations recognised in the 2006 NHS Act (as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012). LMCs are the only democratically elected body representing GPs. As such LMCs have statutory obligations under Part 6 of The NHS (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2004 (Functions of Local Medical Committees). In summary these are:
- To consider any complaint made by any medical practitioner against another, and report its findings to the NHS Commissioning Board if there are concerns relating to the efficiency of services provided under a contract resulting from the complaint.
- To make arrangements for a medical examination of a practitioner when there are concerns that the practitioner might be ill, or that his or her health might be putting patients at risk, and to make a written report for the NHS Commissioning Board regarding the practitioner’s capability to carry out his or her role.
Part 7, of Schedule 6 (para. 99 (2)) of The NHS (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2004 gives the NHS Commissioning Board or practices the option of involving the LMC in resolving disputes between the NHS Commissioning Board and practices. The committees are happy to be involved in helping to resolve such disputes. This will remain a critical role in the future.
A summary of all the functions of an LMC can be found in the GPC guidance on the Role of LMCs.
How to consult with the LMC Ltd
We welcome informal and ad hoc queries or requests for information from anyone in the Area Team, CCGs or Local Authorities at any time. Where possible, the first point of contact should be:
- For specific concerns about individual GP performance – Dr Peter Graves
- For all other queries – Carl Raybold (Bedfordshire, including Luton) or Rachel Lea (Hertfordshire)
LMC/Primary Care, CCGs or Local Authority Liaison meetings
Formal LMC/Primary Care Liaison meetings are held every two months and provide an opportunity to discuss plans or proposals from the Area Team, CCGs or Local Authorities which impact on general practice. These meetings are attended by members of the LMC Secretariat, LMC representatives and key staff from the Area Team, CCGs and Local Authorities. A number of informal meetings between secretariat and staff from the Area Team, CCGs and Local Authorities also take place to progress work arising from formal meetings.
Formal LMC Consultation
Where the Area Team, CCG or Local Authority is seeking formal LMC approval or an opinion on a proposal or issue, the LMC sub-committee would need to be consulted. The sub-committees meet every two months (excluding August). In months when the sub-committee does not meet there is an Executive Committee which will also consider proposals from the Area Team, CCG or Local Authority and is able to give approval if appropriate.
For urgent matters, we can consult committee members through various other channels to obtain an early opinion without waiting for a formal committee meeting.
Please note that while LMC representatives or members of the Secretariat can represent the LMC at meetings and provide advice and opinion, they cannot give LMC approval without further discussion at an LMC sub-committee or executive committee.
Last reviewed on 20th November 2014