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Have you ever wondered what sort of doctors take on the role of Local Negotiating Committee Chair in your Trust? And why they do so? On 30th April the BMA held its 5th annual LNC Chairs Conference, and I was delighted to be asked, in a curious tautology, to Chair this august gathering of 130 doctors. Let me tell you about the day and why it was so inspiring.
As an LNC Chair myself, I view those who take on this role as the heroes of the BMA. We are the footsoldiers at the front line of secondary care, battling to protect our colleagues in an NHS in which unprecedented financial underfunding and relentless reconfiguration threaten our working practices on a daily basis. We represent all the BMA members in our Trust, including junior doctors, staff and associate specialist doctors and consultants. My typical workload includes talking to colleagues who feel bullied, reviewing local policies at short notice, answering queries about job planning and other contractual issues, and those who contact us need quick, accurate and individual responses. BMA First Point of Contact can help with these, but many doctors prefer to talk to their LNC Chair. A well-staffed, rested and content medical workforce without bullying is widely recognised to create better outcomes for our patients, and this is the cornerstone for everything we do on LNCs.
The theme for the day was supporting and empowering LNCs, and we discussed an eclectic range of topics. From the gender pay gap, to the LNC Hub with model BMA policies for us to use, and the particular issues for SAS doctors, the morning bounced along with many excellent contributions from the floor. As we will have a central role in the local implementation of the new CEA contract changes, I was delighted that our Acting Chair of Consultants Committee, Rob Harwood, was able to give a talk and answer questions on this. In the afternoon we had more informal break out sessions on E job planning, local surveys, NHS reconfiguration, bullying and harassment and Guardian of Safe Working issues.
Feedback was excellent, and I’m especially grateful to so many of the representatives who signed up to help as LNC Chair mentors for new members.
And a typical LNC Chair? 80% are consultants, male, aged 40-60 years and finding the workload manageable but increasing. With the contractual changes for consultants and the increasingly appreciated importance of exception reporting the workload is set to rise – and the role to become increasingly influential locally and nationally. LNCs need a wide range of all types of secondary care doctor to work best and it is empowering and fascinating work. Do get involved, speak to your LNC reps and ask to sit in on your next LNC meeting. The BMA is here to support ‘to the hilt’ those who take on this role, and I look forward to meeting old and new friends at the LNC Chairs Conference next year.
Dr Helen Fidler is Deputy Chair of the UK Consultant’s Committee
Made me realise how ignorant I am about rabies. It's scandalous http://fireboywatergirl.me that when there are such cheap and simple preventative measures that people are dying in such horrific conditions.