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BMA calls for GP funding increase ahead of next week's Budget

The GP in charge of the BMA has written to the Chancellor ahead of next week’s budget, calling for a funding increase for general practice.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GP in northwest London, warned that the extra £20bn the Government has pledged for the NHS up until 2023/24 will not be enough to solve the problems in the NHS.

The letter comes as Chancellor Phillip Hammond is due to announce the Autumn Budget on Monday, with a 10-year plan for the NHS expected to be unveiled in November.

Dr Nagpaul went onto call for ‘fair remuneration’ of doctors, and highlighting a GP fall in earnings of 20% since 2008.

Dr Nagpaul’s letter said: ‘General practice remains pivotal in being the first point of contact looking after most patients’ healthcare needs, yet it has faced a decade of underinvestment. A significant boost to general practice funding is required to make the NHS more sustainable in the longer-term.

‘A minimum spend of 11% of the total NHS budget must be invested in general practice. The funding in the long-term plan will be insufficient to address this immediate problem.’

His letter also raised the importance of extra funding for secondary care, mental health services and public health, as well as the need for social care reform.

The £20bn extra funding announced will translate to a year-on-year increase of 3.4% but, along with former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the BMA have said annual rises of 4% will be necessary.

The BMA has also published its consultation response on the Budget, which it shared with the Treasury last month.

The BMA's budget demands

  • General practice remains the most effective way of looking after most patients’ healthcare needs, with secondary care or A&E attendances being significantly more expensive alternatives.
  • A significant boost to general practice funding is now required to make the NHS as a whole more sustainable in the longer-term. It is critical that this happens now, as patients are already starting to be adversely affected.
  • A minimum spend of 11% of the total NHS budget must be invested in general practice - a funding deficit that is currently estimated at £3.7bn.
  • General practice also needs recurrent funding to enable expansion of a collaborative multi-disciplinary general practice and community workforce working both in practices and within localities. This must be from new investment and not as a result of diverting resources away from other NHS and public health services.

Source: BMA Budget consultation response

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