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Over 80% of GPs say workload has worsened since GP Forward View

Exclusive The Government's £2.4bn general practice rescue package has failed to relieve GP workload two years on, a Pulse survey has shown.

Asked whether their workload had improved or worsened since the General Practice Forward View was announced in April 2016, eight in 10 GPs (83%) said it had actually worsened.

The survey, which saw responses from 741 GPs, further showed that practice finances had deteriorated for well over half (57%) of respondents, while a similar number (55%) said their staff numbers had decreased.

As a result, nearly three-quarters (71%) of GPs experienced a decline in morale since the GPFV announcement, the poll found.

At the time of the announcement of the GPFV, which contained plans to improve on all of these aspects, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens promised it would 'turn general practice around'.

It comes one year after the RCGP - a staunch supporter of the GPFV initiative - 'red-rated' several aspects of NHS England's work to roll out the support.

At the time, RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard expressed 'frustration' that GPs were not seeing benefits.

And, commenting on Pulse's survey results, she said: 'We’re now almost two years into NHS England’s five-year GP Forward View and, particularly around workforce issues, we’d have expected to be further on in its delivery than we are now’.

‘The College is acutely aware of the resource and workforce pressures facing general practice, and we are committed to holding the Government and NHS England to account to deliver the GP Forward View in full, as a matter of urgency.

‘There is a huge amount of work left to do to deliver the GP Forward View - but the plan remains the best, and indeed the only, chance we have of turning things around for general practice. Only when its pledges are fully delivered will we be able to ensure the high-quality care our patients need, and deserve, both now and in the future.'

The BMA recently warned that 'very little' of the funding pledged in the plan had been delivered, with bureaucracy over accessing small pots of funding acting as a hurdle to practices benefitting from the package.

The chair of the BMA's GP Committee Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that the survey findings 'chime with what our own members tell us about the pressures they are facing on a daily basis'.

According to Dr Vautrey, GPs 'struggle with rising workloads, staff shortages, dwindling budgets and low morale while trying to meet the health needs of a growing population'.

'It's a sign of the scale of the problem that the commitments made in the GPFV are yet to make tangible improvements to the day-to-day experience of GPs and practices,' he said.

Dr Vautrey said the BMA is now calling on NHS England to 'go beyond the commitments in the GPFV' and deliver 'proper recurrent investment and an expansion of the workforce in and around practices that will be able to address the pressures in general practice'.

The calls come as the BMA recently published an updated version of its demands to NHS England, titled Saving General Practice, following the failure of the Government to deliver on the demands of the BMA's Urgent Prescription for General Practice in 2016.

On workload, the document demands that practices are enabled to manage their workloads to protect patient safety. It further calls on the Government to retain the core GP contract, expand the workforce, provide a fully funded indemnity package and provide recurrent, sustainable funding for practices.

NHS England said that there are more than 2,300 more practice staff providing direct care, while 2,100 practices have been directly supported via the GP practice resilience fund.

A spokesperson said: 'This is a tiny and self-selecting survey which lacks statistical credibility.'

The GPFV promised to deliver an additional investment of £2.4bn a year by 2020/21 into general practice services, bringing it to a total of £12bn.

survey better or worse feb 2018



Readers' comments (12)

  • New contract NOW
    PBR please
    15% of total nhs budget (to pay for delivery of 90% of the care, and to allow us to run a decent quality service) please
    Pay equivalent to (or better than) dentists to attract recruits please
    Defined maximum workload please
    An end to dumping unpaid work in general practice please
    Estates mess sorted out - proper investment and a long term plan please
    I know 2 young GPs who left practice
    this week alone.

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  • Surprised? Patients want to see proper doctors who can actually deal with their problems, not pharmacists, paramedics and "advanced" nurse practitioners who deal with trivia and then create work for the existing GPs. Strange how NHSE wants GPs to employ the noctors and take clinical and contractual responsibility for them. In our practice we just employ locums using the same amount of money. Patients are happier and no need to manage yet another employee. Try it. It works.

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  • So over 80% of us should be on antidepressants- those expensive placebos for mild and moderate depression..........
    perhaps better to go into medical litigation business if you have a Forward View:
    In a letter to David Gauke, senior members of the NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges called for limits on compensation paid to patients who suffered injuries through medical errors. The cost of such payouts has almost doubled since 2011, they said, and if all claims in progress were successful it would cost £65 billion.

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  • Staff are difficult to retain, partnership profits are down yet workload through ageing ,increased complexity, ridiculous CCG induced hurdles , monitoring and increased expectations rises inexorably.
    My practice has not had any help whatsoever from this forward view. In fact it seems to be the CCGs aim to make my life as difficult as possible. In the over 30 years I have been in practice life has never ever been so difficult.

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  • I think they forget that most GPs have other options. The worse our working life gets, the more favourably we consider those options.

    They need to get a grip on this very quickly because we are haemorrhaging our GP workforce. Once GPs make the decision to leave they are very unlikely to come back. We may have even gone past the point of no return.

    The Government may not like GPs but they cannot run a health service without us. They thought they would recruit abroad, or replace us with other practitioners. All these schemes have been dismal failures.

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  • A spokesperson said
    "nyah nyah nyah can't hear you not listening can't hear you" while sticking fingers in both ears and running round the table

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  • Could the 20% who feel life is so much better please tell us in what way? Am I missing something - GP is a misery now. Or are they all currently having lunch and drinks at the College?

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  • As carfentanyl suggested who is really listening or if they are then selective deafness occurs. Who really gives a damn about us GPs? Politicians? No! Patients? Not really and only in a selfish way. College hierarchy etc? I think not! It seems to me that the only way out is to leave,as many are doing, and what sadness that inflicts upon me.

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  • But these 80% elect the same CCG and LMC members year wondering why things don't change!

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    'Unscepted | GP Partner/Principal16 Feb 2018 9:19pm

    But these 80% elect the same CCG and LMC members year wondering why things don't change!'

    Just being a little fair pal - these people who do give up their time and efforts - do so as there is not even a trickle of GPs waiting in the wings to take over. Its not something I would give up my time to do, as seeing patients is preferable for me.

    Until those who moan and complain are willing to take up the mantle, the grass root colleagues doing these roles should be appreciated.

    Save your vitriol for the ones trying to sit around the golden tables, waiting for their knighthoods and executive roles in private companies as experts.

    The ones who take the 30 pieces of silver and sold their colleagues pensions down the river, and negotiated the contract that let private organisations into primary care. Sit in GMC positions and allow injustice to colleagues like Dr BG, and torment their colleagues with revalidation and CQC.

    Those guys deserve a seat with the dark lord himself - JH calls and CM runs.

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