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Politicians must 'jettison pipe dreams' of seven-day access, says GPC chair

The GPC chair will use his opening speech at the LMCs Conference today to denounce moves towards seven-day service, saying they are ‘political pipe dreams’ that will lead to the destruction of ‘comprehensive general practice service in parts of the UK’.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul will say that the Government ‘will fail dismally’ in its manifesto pledge for 5,000 new GPs if it continues with weekend opening, because it will ‘lose 10,000 GPs retiring in the same period’.

He will also say that GPs face ‘a stark choice to sink or swim’, and must work closely with pharmacists and find ‘creative new ways of working and using technology’ to ease workload pressures.

His call follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s first speech since the election, where he set out his ambition for everyone in England to have access to seven-day GP practices by 2020.

But Dr Nagpaul will warn the new Government that it is walking into a GP workforce ‘catastrophic timebomb ready to explode’.

Dr Nagpaul will say: ‘Being a GP has an unsustainable, punishing pace and intensity… The irrefutable fact is that patient demand has absolutely outstripped the capacity of GP services, and we simply don’t have the GPs, appointments, staff or space to meet these escalating demands.

‘Now the election is out of the way, I call upon the Prime Minister to jettison the political pipe dreams of tomorrow and get real about how we resource, resuscitate and rebuild general practice today.’

He will quote recent statistics revealing that one in three GPs intend to retire in the next five years, from a BMA survey of over 15,000 GPs earlier this year, as well as the latest wave of GP training scheme application being ‘even poorer than last year’, as was revealed by Pulse last month.

Dr Nagpaul will also announce plans around GPs seeking greater support from other professionals.

‘We must work with other health professional such as pharmacists who can support GPs in their daily work. We must equally be creative about new ways of working and using technology to ease pressures. The GPC will be rolling out guidance on such measures in the coming months,’ Dr Nagpaul will say.

And just like Pulse’s Stop Practice Closures campaign, Dr Nagpaul will also call for immediate financial support for practices at risk.

He will say: ‘We also need a national programme of proactive support from government with dedicated resources for GPs and practices struggling under pressure right now -  not after the event when practices are about to collapse.’

At the conference, local leaders are set to vote on whether they can declare ‘major incidents’ and ‘capacity shutdowns’, similar to A&E departments.

LMCs from across the UK will also vote on whether to move to a salaried only service, and whether the QOF should be scrapped.

The morning session will also see a motion on whether there should be a ‘staff grade’ of GP, who could practise independently without having passed the MRCGP exam.

Read the agenda in full here

Related images

  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Readers' comments (17)

  • 10.25am :)

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  • NHS england seem to be th minions for the supervillains at the DoH!To many films with the kid Im afraid.

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  • And if they don't listen to you to Chaand, then what? You and the GPC have no credibility because you will never take any action and the Govt, NHSE, et al all know it.

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  • Only option, in view of GPC impotence, to leave, Locum or retire. Let the exodus over the next few years and the inability to find 1000s of new GPs as promised lead to the de,I've of the NHS. Flogging the dead horse is avoiding the reality. It is not a health service, we waste too much time with inconsequential problems, demanding patients who know more about their rights than taking care of their health, wealth etc.

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  • agree chand
    now we must for the sake of the survival of the service..it is that serious....
    BALLOT THE PROFESSION..NOW

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  • Abdul QADRI

    For heavens sake , gps are really human with family to support too. Is it too much to educate people or patients to take over the weekends to take care of their trivial symtoms like summer flu, allergies related illness & so on. Regrettably our dermography has significantly changed & so have demands. Thanks to our friend / foe Mr Google , patients have an urge or rush to seek medical for simple things. This is the curse of technology at its worst. Every sitting govt has been using Health service as a political tool to impress voters & Mr Caneton and his Conservative compaigning was no exception. Aftermath of the election is that Mr Cameron PM has to come across as using his majority muscles on poor Gps who have been absorbing political flames since the arrival of Lady Thatcher( god bless her soul). Mr Cameron PM is leaving politics at the end of the term or sooner , therefore why should he care about the implications of 365 days cover by Gps. Sadly if Health think tank don't get it right very soon , more around 60 years will say Good bye to GP & there will be real recruitment crisis. Result , hiring of Doctors from Europe , AFRICA , Middleeast or subcontinent leading to further communication problem for the real vulnerable Patients & long wait in the waiting area since 10 minutes appointment can turn into 30 minutes due to language issues.
    Have I reached to any conclusion after these comments , simple answer is No & I want you hard working class gps to ponder on.

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  • Abdul QADRI

    Besides you have to worry about not One but more of Big Brothers watching .. Loving patients , Respected Lawyers with their barrage of commercials adv people to get real Cash , CQC, GMC , medical defence unions & so on. Need all the cells in the brain working 365 days.

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