Office opening hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Offices closed on Bank Holidays.
Home Menu Search

The History of Local Medical Committees (LMCs)

The BMA was founded, as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, in Worcester in 1832 when there was no regulation of the profession; anyone could practice as a doctor. It lobbied for a regulatory body, which led to the setting up of the General Medical Council in 1858. The Association's membership grew rapidly and became the British Medical Association in 1856.

In 1911, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr David Lloyd George, introduced a National Health Insurance Bill, giving statutory recognition to the Local Panel Committees as the representative, local voice of the doctors who took patients on their "panel". The 1911 National Insurance Act required the Local Insurance Committee to consult, through the Local Panel Committees, all panel doctors on a wide range of issues. In 1912, the BMA established a national committee to represent all panel doctors, the Insurance Acts Committee which was recognised by the Government as the authoritative voice of General Practitioners.

The profession broadly supported the introduction of a State medical scheme but strongly opposed to the introduction of a salaried service. It was feared that the loss of the independent contractor status would undermine the GP's ability to practice without state interference and ultimately put patient's care at risk. If it were not for the tenacity of the Insurance Acts Committee, general practice would have been drawn into a salaried service (as our hospital colleagues subsequently were in 1948). In 1913 the Local Panel Committee became known as the Local Medical Committee (LMC).

The establishment of the NHS in 1948, after the 1942 Beveridge Report, endorsed a number of issues that General Practice demanded:

Due to the fixed amount of money in the "pool" system, by 1964 General Practice faced a serious crisis. GPs felt neglected and under funded, morale was poor and recruitment was very low. General Practice had lost faith with both the Government and GP leaders. This crisis led to the Family Doctors Charter, which received widespread support of the profession (including 18,000 undated resignations) and was then negotiated with the Government.

Summary of the 1965 Doctors' Charter proposals:

The Trade Union and Industrial Relations Act of 1974 led to the BMA being recognised as the Trade Union representing the medical profession. It should be made clear that LMCs are not Trade Unions. The NHS Acts of 1977 and 1984 reinforced and expanded the statutory recognition and functions of LMCs.

In 1990 the Conservative Secretary of State for Health, Mr Kenneth Clarke, imposed a new Contract. This seemed to cause more problems than it solved but laid the way for many of the recent concepts such as Fundholding, practice-led commissioning, PMS and now the nGMS contract.

Structures seem to change at an alarming rate in the NHS. What is clear though, from reading the history of medical politics, is that the issues GPs face today are not dissimilar to those faced at times of crisis in 1911, 1948, 1964 and the mid-1990's. The LMC has been in existence for over 95 years and is still the only local, elected and representative body of General Practitioners.

Related guidance...

GP Representation – The role of the LMC

The issue of who represents GPs, practices and the profession is a subject that is frequently raised and there remains uncertainty about...

How Wessex LMCs is funded?

The Statutory Levy. . . All LMCS are funded by a statutory levy. This amount is collected from practices and is based on an amount per...

Getting Involved

You may have heard the name Wessex LMCs but do you know what the Local Medical Committee looks like or how it works? Likewise with the...

The BaNES, Swindon & Wiltshire Local Medical Committee

The Committee of the BaNES, Swindon & Wiltshire LMC meets 5 times a year, and consists of 29 members, elected from 5 constituencies. In...

BMA Press Release: Doctors’ leader accuses Prime Minister of scapegoating NHS staff and risking patients’ lives due to underfunding of services

(Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 to all GPs and PMs) Dear Colleague Please find below (along with a link) the...

This page appears in...

Download and bookmark...

About this page...

Updated on 05 July 2017 3139 views