The History of Wessex Local Medical Committees Ltd

The LMC is the only elected, representative body of local GP opinion. It has certain statutory duties and must be consulted on certain issues.

It exists to represent, advise and support GPs and General Practice.

Previously, LMCs were aligned with FPCs (Family Practitioner Committees)and subsequent FHSAs (Family Health Service Authorities), which were generally aligned along county boundaries. Hampshire was amongst the bigger LMCs, and the Isle of Wight was the smallest.

In 1996 when PCGs were set up (succeeded by PCTs), it was decided to re-organise the Hampshire LMC into three areas covering Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, so that each LMC liaised with three PCTs. The Hampshire LMCs continued to share the same Secretary/Chief Executive (then Dr. Button) and a central office and staff. The Hampshire LMCs were joined by Dorset and, subsequently, Wiltshire so more office staff were needed in Winchester.

In October 2006, PCTs were re-organised so there are two in Dorset, three in Hampshire, one on the Isle of Wight and two in Wiltshire. After consultation with constituents, it was decided to have one LMC covering each County, the same as prior to 1996. Each of the three LMCs is elected by the GP constituents it covers and is entirely independent.

The three LMCs in the Wessex area, have agreed to form a Board comprising the elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of each LMC. This body employs the Joint Chief Executives, Dr. Laura Edwards and Dr Andy Purbrick, and through them, the Chandler’s Ford office, a directorate and an administrative team. This team supports each LMC separately, but the pooling of resources and expertise allows great economy of scale. We believe each LMC gets much more for its money than every one having its own separate office and staff.

It is salutary to think that 25 years ago the Hampshire LMC Secretary used to do LMC work on the kitchen table in their half-day off. Some of the smaller LMCs around the country still function like this today. However, we like to think that the breadth and depth of expertise in Wessex LMCs, using four part-time doctors, and fifteen staff, provides each of its constituents a nationally recognised high quality service at a cost to the constituents that lies in the middle of the national range.

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