LMC Pastoral Care
One of the most important roles of the LMC is to advise and support local GPs on a personal basis. This can range from advice about an unusual dilemma from their clinical practice to a more personal matter about your own circumstances. We understand the importance of this role and have a suitably qualified and robust pastoral care team who operate on a completely confidential basis.
Doctors are notoriously bad at seeking help for medical problems, but illness in a GP may jeopardise their ability to care for patients and impact the working of a practice. Experience has shown that doctors who run into problems with performance issues or partnership disputes are often ill. This may be physical illness or mental health problems, including alcohol or substance misuse and GPs are entitled to specialist support so that patients receive the best care.
To address these issues the LMC will be proactive in its support of GPs and sometimes the LMC or the NHS Area Team might persuade a GPs to undertake a medical assessment as part of an investigation into performance concerns. Our Pastoral Care Lead clinician is available for support throughout this process.
If you believe that either you or a colleague might need help or support – whatever the problem – please contact the office immediately on 01438 880010. Your call will be strictly confidential and referred immediately to our Pastoral Care Lead.
Joining the LMC Pastoral Care team
Due to an increasing need to provide care for colleagues, we have formed a team of GPs to provide pastoral care support. The GPs are interviewed to ensure they are competent and able to provide compassionate care. They have a clear job description, meet regularly for training and mentoring and are supported by the LMC Medical Director.
If you think you might be interested in joining the team and are a GP working in Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire, please do not hesitate to contact the LMC office and discuss the fascinating and stimulating work of the team.
GPs as your patient
Consulting with a GP colleague presenting as a patient, can be more complex and difficult as you have a duty of care to the patients of your GP patient. If you believe that the ill GP is putting his or her patients at risk by continuing to work, then you must take action.
We would recommend that you discuss the situation with the GP and persuade them to stop working. Failing this you have three options:
You can discuss the situation you face, in complete confidence, with either:
- LMC CEO or Medical Director (Office: 01438 880010)
- LMC Chair for your area (the LMC office can make contact on your behalf)
- NHS England Area Team Medical Director (the LMC office can provide the contacts)
GPs facing Performance Procedures
We would recommend that all GPs facing NHS England, GMC, NCAS, litigation or other performance procedures contact the LMC for advice and support. Whatever the circumstances, such procedures are stressful and need to be addressed swiftly and appropriately. We are here to ensure that the procedures are fair and transparent, as well as providing pastoral support for GPs during a very difficult time.
On occasions GPs (as contractors) may disagree with decisions made by the commissioners in respect to their contracts. Disputes may arise over decisions about contractual sanctions and termination, remuneration, practice area and “opt-outs‟. Contractors have the right of appeal against such a decision and to request that it is resolved through a series of dispute resolution processes.
It is expected that most contractual disputes will be resolved informally as part of the normal contractual relationship before entering into formal procedures.
Either the practice or the NHS Commissioner can request the LMC to help to resolve a dispute at any stage. The LMC focus in these matters is to put patient interests first while providing support to our members – the GPs. This can sometimes lead to different LMC team members supporting different sides in a dispute. When this happens the LMC office team are assiduous in confidentiality and professional conduct.
Disputes interfere with the running of the practice and can result in a reduction in the quality of patient care or serious errors.
Partnership disputes must be taken seriously and dealt with professionally and urgently. We would strongly advise you to seek help as soon as the dispute is recognised.
As your LMC we can facilitate meetings as part of the early stages of a dispute, but once the parties are entrenched, formal professional mediation may be necessary. There are a number of trained and registered mediators in our Portfolio of Approved Consultants.
The best way to prevent most disputes is to have an up to date robust Partnership Agreements. Please contact the LMC office or visit our Portfolio of Approved Consultants for preferred providers who can provide guidance on this.
Employment Issues are very complex and the law pertaining to employment is very complicated. For these reasons the LMC does not give guidance on employment relations and we would suggest you contact ACAS or if you are a member of the BMA as your representative organisation they can advise you on employment issues.
Other National Support Organisations
BMA Wellbeing Support
The BMA Wellbeing Support Service is confidential, free of charge and open to all doctors and medical students.
Call 0330 123 1245 and you will have the choice of speaking to a counsellor or taking the details of a doctor who you can contact for peer support or for further information please click on the link below:
NHS GP Health Service
You can contact the NHS GP Health Service by calling 0300 0303 300 or emailing [email protected]
Charities offering support to GPs:
- The Dain Fund helps with the educational costs of doctors’ children in certain situations
- The Cameron Fund supports general practitioners and their dependants in times of financial need, whether through ill-health, disability, death or loss of employment
- Society for Assistance of Medical Families (SAMF) support doctors and their families in time of need.
- Royal Medical Benevolent Fund Helping doctors and their dependants in need
- net.uk The UK’s largest professional network of doctors – for doctors, by doctors: Forum, email, library, education, medical news, jobs
- Support 4 Doctors Information and advice on: work & career, health & wellbeing, money & finance, family & home
- Claire Wand Organisation The Claire Wand Organisation is a charitable fund that makes grants to fund the further education of medical practitioners, predominantly engaged in general practice, and for the provision of scholarships (including travelling scholarships).