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GPs go forth

General practice in 'state of emergency', says GPC chair in barnstorming speech

The current state of general practice is unsafe for patients, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told delegates at the Special LMC Conference in a passionate speech today.

In the keynote speech at the specially convened conference, Dr Nagpaul railed against the ‘nit-picking’ CQC, ‘platitudes’ from Government, and schemes to support struggling practices.

He said general practice is ‘literally in a state of emergency’, and called for an end to the ‘pretence that all is well on the road to recovery’.

In a fiery speech today, Dr Nagpaul said the GPC has offered alternatives to the proposals on the table by NHS England and the Government, including teams of ‘GPs, nurses and managers able to be parachuted to any practice at short notice’.


The GPC chair said that the ‘mere fact that an extraordinary conference has been convened… speaks volumes about the state and crisis facing general practice today’.

He said the current state of general practice – including 10-minute appointments, 70 patient contacts a day, GPs managing ‘complications beyond their confidence’ and the number of unfilled vacancies was ‘not safe’ for patients.

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘To put it simply, it is not safe to carry on the way we are, and which is why this conference is highlighting that general practice is quite literally in a state of emergency.

He also focused on the issue of practice closures, referencing Pulse’s investigation that revealed 200,000 patients had been forced to find new practices or travel to different premises due to closures.

‘I’m ashamed there’s been a rocketing of GP practice closures in the last year, displacing over 200,000 patients forced to re-register.

’The Government therefore cannot afford for a single practice to close unnecessarily since this costs hugely more in hospital costs and the expense of picking up the pieces.’

Dr Nagpaul said it was a ‘scandal’ that area teams would not bail out practices that have to close, ‘but can in the same breath spend over a million pounds on challenge fund schemes to pay GPs to sit in empty surgeries on Sundays. This is plainly morally wrong.’

The speech finished with an attack on efforts to recruit and retain GPs.

He said that the Government’s own worklife survey reveals ‘a loss of over 10,000 GPs that will wipe out any increase in recruitment’.

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘You aren’t going to improve retention nor recruitment by just talking up the job with promotional videos, flying in the face of the reality of an overstretched exhausted workforce.’

Readers' comments (30)

  • Don't worry. unt and his 'package' are coming to the rescue.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Interesting word to choose ,'ashamed'. I suppose that was inspired by Master Yoda.

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  • The 10 minutes consultation is certainly not conducive to safe clinical practice and hence Good Medica Practice.We are being set up to trip ,basically.
    Its time, as the GPC says, to stand up and call for changes.For far too long the fraternity has soldiered on ,often being hung in the gallows when thing go wrong due to the time pressure we are under.This MUST stop.
    Let it be known, the 10 minutes consultations is a public health scandal and the greatest threat to both our professionalism and to our patients best interests.

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  • 10min consultations are more than enough and I will tell you why. 10mins are plenty when a patient comes in with a cough and a sniffle that started 2 hours ago. One min is enough and I usually have them out the door in 10 seconds flat. That teaches them not to come back to see a health professional that trained for 20 years with such bollocks. Unless we divide patients into real patients and those who need a better life we are in trouble for a long time to come. And for those cardigans who will say " oh dig deep and you will find ..." WE DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY TO DIG DEEP AND LOOK FOR SH!T TO DO.

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  • Did you discuss at the LMC conference the 'panic' recruitment by GP's of nurses with no experience whatsoever in general practice, plus no prescribing skills or MSc, and giving them the title and role of Advanced Nurse Practitioner?
    Those GP's doing this are trying to 'fill the gap' in a desperate attempt to keep the practice afloat and this is very unsafe practice indeed. GP's need to fully understand what an ANP is and what skills, qualifications and experience she needs to have to fulfil the role safely and confidently.
    Would you take a similar nurse and call her a Physicians Associate? I very much doubt it!

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  • we are Waiting for actions not speeches.

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  • Nothing on the agenda about developing an exit clause.

    Nothing about developing a nationwide private health insurance package for primary care

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  • LMC = all talk, no action.

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  • I agree with 12.57. We need a viable alternative plan in order genuinely to negotiate from a position of strength.

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