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The waiting game

Brace yourselves for Brexit, GPs warned

General practice needs to brace itself for the impact of Brexit hitting next year, delegates at the Rural Primary Care Conference have heard.

Potential inflation of between 5-10% as a result of the UK leaving the EU will hit the NHS and general practice in particular hard, GPC member Dr Peter Holden warned the conference in Tregynon, near Newtown last month. 

Speaking to Pulse after his speech, Dr Holden said GPs have not yet got to grips with what Brexit means economically but it was time to face up to reality.

‘If people don’t think the pound is worth as much, the tax take will go down and inflation will go up,’ he said.

‘And a lot of what we use in the health service is imported.’

He said unlike small businesses there was very little practices could do themselves to mitigate the impact as their costs were fixed but they needed to be aware of what was coming.

‘If we get inflation and no increase in funding we will have to start cutting staff and patients will have to wait longer. We will have to start downsizing,’ he said.

Another key message from the conference was that practices will have to start collaborating more and moving towards working in federations in order to ensure their survival.

‘Working at scale is one way of dealing with this although that is not the sole answer’ said Dr Holden who is also a member of the GP practice finance committee.

He said it was important for GPs to realise that being part of a bigger partnership does not mean the end of personalised care.

Dr James Kiel, a Welshpool GP and chair of the Montgomeryshire Medical Society who organised the event, said the message about federations may have come to a shock to GPs.

‘I think a lot of delegates were confronted with a future that hasn’t loomed very large on their horizon,’ he said.

‘We heard about lots of different options but the take home message was GPs need to be aware of this as change is coming and stasis is not necessarily an option.’

He added there had also been a lot of discussion about a greater skill mix in general practice to take pressure off GPs.

‘Recruitment isn’t going to get any better,’ he said.

‘Ultimately this is all about making sure general practice is sustainable.’

Readers' comments (10)

  • Isn't this a warning light to say - Partners, leave your job before you become the last man/woman standing??

    I wonder what our Brexit politicians who were promising extra £££ for NHS thinks now? Shall we ask Nigel in the local pub?

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  • Azeem Majeed

    I covered some of the implications of Brexit for the NHS and universities in a recent blog post.

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  • Wir sind totalischeundutterlichgefuchlichheit as Mrs Merkl vud sagen

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  • Vorchsprung dur technik!

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  • ahh le suis desole :-)

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  • Zabawa dopiero sie zaczyna

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  • Je suis tres content avec le brexit.

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  • I think there is a lot of tripe on Brexit.
    whatever your personal thoughtson brexit - it is those who are particularly angry that want to say to the rest' we told you so' and hence why these stories exist.

    From out company analysis - if the politicians want to turn Brexit into a bloodbath they can do so - for both the UK and europe.

    If they are sensible they could also make it painless.

    Azeem Majeed's perspective is a little flawed in that it paints a picture of over dependence on Europe when certainly in medicine very little positive has come from European graduates.

    It also ignores the huge problems within the EU that are constantly being swept under the carpet.

    Democracy does mean respecting decisions and making the best of it!

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  • Brexit may be bad, but it may be wonderful. The EU is very flawed and it is shored up by Germany. But wait for a year or 2 and the toxic nature of the debt of some countries, the unfettered immigration of certain groups will begin to unravel the EU. But that is a personal opinion. I think we have to respect the majority decision. They may have sensed a crash of the EU [ like the 2007 collapse of banks] coming.

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  • Yup lets get on the road to billions
    All for gps who are in the NHS and where most money goes to failing hospitals

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