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GP leaders react as Theresa May announces minority Government plan

The NHS looks set to remain under the stewardship of the Tories, after Prime Minister Theresa May today declared her intentions to hang onto power despite failing to win the election.

Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street, Ms May made no mention of the fact she failed to reach a majority but said the Conservative Party was the only option with the 'legitimacy and ability' to govern at this time.

She added that the party would 'continue to work with' Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) - which saw 10 MPs elected and whose support she will require to bring decisions through Parliament.

Ms May, who was able to secure just 318 out of 326 seats required to win the election, said she would 'form a Government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country'.

She said: 'What the country needs more than ever is certainty and having secured the largest number of votes, and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party, has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons.

'As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular. Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years, and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.'

She added that 'over the next five years' her Governent would 'put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do', and 'build a country in which no one and no community is left behind', whilst 'channelling energies' towards 'a successful Brexit deal'.

As doctor leaders began to react to the result, RCGP said it was 'awaiting further details' and would be 'issuing a statement in due course'.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter called for 'a Government that will agree a long-term, credible plan to deliver the fully funded and supported NHS that staff want and patients deserve.

Dr Porter said the election campaign had shown that 'people care deeply about the future of health and social care in this country' and said the next Government would have to make it its priority.

He added: 'Yet Conservative funding plans for the NHS fall far short of what is needed. The question for this Government is whether it will preside over a further decline in the NHS, or if it has the courage and the political will to provide the funding and staffing needed to ensure its survival.

'The Government must ensure that NHS funding keeps pace with other European nations, that EU doctors in the UK are protected from the impact of Brexit, that general practice is properly supported, that policies which protect and enhance the public’s health are implemented and that the pressures which affect the day-to-day delivery of high quality patient care are tackled.'

Northern Irish GPC chair Dr Tom Black said that although the DUP's strengthened role in Westminster could theoretically lead to benefits for devolved nations funding.

He told Pulse: 'The impact for GP practices is still up in the air at the minute. Obviously the DUP linking with the Conservative Party does give them a bargaining position with respect to the overall Barnett Formula and the budget for Northern Ireland. The DUP’s interests are twofold, and while they’ll support the Conservatives in Brexit, they will also be looking out for their interests in Northern Ireland.

But he added that he was concerned about the timing as NI politicians are in the midst of their own political crisis, with DUP and Sinn Fein having failed to agree on the make-up of a new Assembly since their coalition agreement fell apart in January, thus delaying a GP Forward View-style rescue package for general practice agreed before Christmas.

Dr Black said: 'The timing is terrible. We’ve had no effective minister or budget for the last six months and there are a lot of decisions pending and we really need action, and soon. The last thing we need is prevarication.’

But Hull GP, GPC member and Pulse blogger Dr Zoe Norris welcomed the election result.

She said: 'I think it’s good news, because there is no overall majority even if the Conservatives remain in government then they are in an unstable position.

'That gives us some leverage as a profession, and gives us an opportunity as a profession to lay out what we want.

'For example we can lay out how we want the GP Forward View to be working, rather than what’s currently happening, and take the initiative on that, the onus is now on us to do that rather than accept the status quo. Which is what’s been happening so far.'

Tower Hamlets LMC chair Dr Jackie Applebee said: 'Theresa May clearly doesn't have a mandate anymore. I think she should probably resign and there should probably be another general election.

'There was lots doom and gloom about [Jeremy] Corbyn not being electable. He clearly is. I think for the health service, for a fairer society, I think big strides were made yesterday with the big vote for Corbyn and another general election in a few months time would make them even bigger I would hope.'

Pulse has approached the DUP for a statement.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Is the DUP the political wing of the UDA/UVF ?

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  • Lets face it, no one is planning to provide the funds that are actually needed to save NHS General Practice in its entirety. Limited funds are being directed to failing practices and failing areas first because these are the areas that are costing the public purse the most. I have waited long enough, for hope of things to change. Am not deluded anymore, and am not hopeful anymore. This acceptance releases the heavy burden of waiting. I accept with open arms less money and more time. Time to leave my partnership.

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  • Dr Sam Izdat @4.30pm

    DUP has been associated with a range of Loyalist paramilitary outfits over the years including the UDA, an off-shoot of the UVF called the LVF (zilch to do with the left ventricle)and another group called Ulster Resistance. But rest assured, the UK Govt. never talks to terrorists, unless they are 'our' terrorists.

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  • Vinci Ho

    ''There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.'' Vladimir Lenin

    Correct me if my knowledge on NI is inadequate and naive.
    This political earthquake is at least of 7.0 on a Richter scale equivalent. So it means there will be a lot of 'after quakes' as well.
    Auntie May could only just stand outside No.10 yesterday simply because Tories did well in Scotland. The final result of the election is her party was 8 seats short of the magic 326 seats(total of 650)in House of Commons . To form a minority government, the only possibility is looking at DUP which got 10 seats, given the fact the Liberal Democrats is still licking its wounds inflicted way back in the time of last coalition government and clearly will not join the 'nasty party' again.People would not forget if you blantantly betrayed them in at least , recent history. I would though,give a bit of credit to Nick Clegg who responded to the cruel reality of the result in his constituency yesterday , by saying 'live by the sword , die by the sword' ( very game of thrones' style). His speech was revealing and sincere enough.
    But the truth is Ruth Davidson , against all odds , fought a spectacular battle in Scotland and won 12 more seats as compared with 2015 election. Without these , even a pact with DUP would be meaningless. So how should Auntie May 'reward' Miss Davidson ? Clearly, Tory party joining with an anti-LGBTI(lesbian , gay , bisexual, transgender , intersex people ) DUP is not going to be a good 'gift' to Miss Davidson . Obviously in terms of expedience , DUP is in a very good position to get 'something good' out of this predicament of the Tories. The righteous thing to do is understandably demanding conditions for the best intetest of people in Northern Ireland . What the DUP is really made of is beyond my knowledge and I welcome opinions from you guys .
    What will happen can potentially boil down to one word 'loyalty'. But we have different meanings for this word in current politics: James Comey referred to 'honest loyalty' when he gave his testimony under oath in Senate Committee on Thursday(millions tuned in to watch the over 3 hours proceeding). Honest loyalty carries a revolutionary meaning in contrast to 'blind loyalty'.
    The bottom line here is the whole British politics needs to be rebuilt with new values and virtues. Thanks to our youngsters who were much more involved in this election , ,wanting to 'teach' the establishment a lesson.
    If EU referendum last year was about the wish of right side moving populism, this general election result is neutralising(instead of neutralised) that with a left moving one. To me , it is only a fine line between the virtually derogatory word 'populism' and essentially respectable 'people's voice'.
    Once again:

    ''Arguments about justice and rights are often arguments about the purpose, or telos, of a social institution, which in turn reflect competing notions of the virtues the institution should reward and honour .''
    Michael J Sandel

    This story only just begins....

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  • Vinci Ho

    The aftermath(or after shocks)of this general election is even more fascinating.
    Watched Andrew Marr show this morning :
    Introspective and inspiring Tarzan(kicked out of government by Auntie May ) in contrast to technocratic and robotic Michael Fallon
    Uncle C beaming with confidence......

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    lets be honest politicians have got their hands full with just trying to form a government, brexit, the economy, security etc... you will find healthcare down the bottom of the list.

    so realistically the NHS will be kicked into the long grass so it's back to you BMA - it's your move.

    it's clear there is some rowing back in NI but going back on your word will make the BMA even weaker than it is now and doctors will always be labelled as moaners who when push comes to shove don't have the conviction to carry out what we said we would do i.e. plan b.

    as for more help for the NHS - no chance - i think politicians will be happy with it gone as it will be one less problem to worry about.

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  • Excellent result with the broom ridden by the PM digging deeper into her recesses. Outcome - a podgy face with no inclination to humility, the return of JH which reflects a state of utter denial as to the chaos in which NHS is plunged but, fortunately, also a weaker Tory government clutching at straws and likely to perish with infighting. For us in Primary Care, the Hunt goes on and NHSE in 7th heaven as nobody has time to look at their shenanigans.

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