What are Local Medical Committees (LMCs)?
LMCs are the bodies recognised by successive NHS Acts of Parliament as the professional organisations representing GPs and GP practices as a whole.
They have existed since the passing of the Local Insurance Act in 1911 when they worked in partnership with the Local Insurance Committees to ensure that the services of “Panel GPs” were available to lower paid workers. Over the years LMCs have provided impressive continuity and expanded their role in the face of many changes in NHS structure.
The 1999 NHS Act extended the LMC role to include representation of all GPs whatever their contractual status. This includes GMS GPs, PMS GPs, Sessional GPs and GP registrars.
The function of LMCs is to represent the interests of GPs and practices with the objective of optimising the terms & conditions, working environment and stability of all GPs both individually and at practice level. The LMC achieves this via the following broad functions:
Representing the views of GPs and practices to all relevant parties through our elected representatives and Secretariat team
Providing expertise and advice to support GPs and practices such as contractual issues, regulations, estates, workload, guidance etc
Pastorally supporting GPs in difficulty through ill health, performance issues and other problems
Creating and circulating useful guidance to GPs and practices on various issues relating to GP activity
Liaising and negotiating with other system partners within the NHS to minimise adverse effects on General Practice and improve interfaces
Communicating with various parties outside the NHS to further the interests of constituent GPs and practices
Representing the views of local GPs to national leaders, via the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) of the BMA and also through the National Conference of LMCs
Local Representation & Structure
BBOLMCs is made up of three County LMCs which each elect representatives every 4 years on a multi-member constituency basis. This means multiple representatives cover individual areas, at the proportion of approximately 1 representative to every 3 practices. In addition, members may be co-opted to fill a vacancy, or where the committee believes the person brings valuable expertise.
Each County committee appoints a Chair and Treasurer. The business of the committee is generally managed by the Secretariat. The LMC meets approximately every two months in full session and in between at Local Reference Committee (LRC) meetings where representatives liaise with commissioners (Area Teams of NHS England, CCGs, and Local Authority Pubic Health) and co-providers (Trusts). The three LMCs of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire are separate organisations jointly funding and served by one Secretariat based in Marlow.
The Secretariat is an incorporated organisation governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 3 representatives from each of the three counties. The Secretariat serves the three County LMCs and acts in accordance with their will to achieve the functions listed above. Details of the Secretariat can be found here.
Funding of the LMC
The LMC is is funded by a capitation based statutory levy, which is deducted at source from all GMS practices. The levy is also deducted from PMS and APMS practices which have signed a voluntary mandate. The levy is mostly used to fund the running of the Secretariat and the County LMC meetings. A small part of the levy is paid by the LMC to the General Practitioners Defence Fund (GPDF) which funds:
GP representation and national contract negotiations by the GPC of the BMA
The running of the national LMC Conference
Individual legal campaigns affecting the whole profession
Large scale advice and guidance affecting the whole profession