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GP workforce must be expanded to deal with long-term conditions, influential MPs say

The growing number of patients living with multiple long-term health conditions will cause a £5bn-a-year NHS budget shortfall unless the GP workforce is expanded and equipped to deal with the problem, an influential committee of MPs has said.

In a new report published today, the House of Commons Health Committee said the Government’s focus on reducing unplanned admissions - which includes rolling out the new unplanned admissions DES - did not address the underlying issues of why these patients end up clogging acute care.

The chair of the committee told Pulse that the unplanned admissions DES would not be enough ‘on its own’.

The report found that care for LTCs accounts for ‘55% of GP appointments, 68% of outpatient and A&E appointments and 77% of inpatient bed days’.

It added: ‘Cost pressures on the health and care system deriving from management of LTCs and treatment of the increasing prevalence of comorbidities is likely to add £5 billion to the annual costs of the system between 2011 and 2018.’

The MPs said they were ‘not convinced that focusing on measures to reduce admissions to the acute sector will effectively address the underlying issues in management of LTCs’.

They further warned that unless the shortage of GPs was addressed ‘as a matter of urgency’ primary care would not be able to continue to take on more work relating to long-term conditions.

The report added: ‘If more treatment of LTCs is to take place in primary and community care, then the recruitment and workforce planning required must take place as a matter of urgency, in particular to address a work force shortfall in primary care already identified by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence.’

The committee quoted evidence from the RCGP to the enquiry, which said: ‘We need a robust long-term approach to workforce planning, led by Health Education England, to ensure that patients with long-term conditions are supported by an adequate GP workforce.’

Health committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Totnes MP and former GP, told Pulse: ‘The unplanned admissions DES is a step in the right direction but that, on its own, is not going to be enough.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • Vinci Ho

    What you and the committee said are probably sensible enough but you still belong to a political party which cares about the rise in GDP more than anything else , as well as liking the dirty tactics of bullying. While you are still preserving a halo on your head , please resign from your political party as a protest .

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  • Well said Vinci.How on earth can Dr wollaston hope to achieve this when her own party treats GP,s so contemptibly and their friends in the media are villifying the profession on a daily basis ? I think a dose of honesty to the electorate is required but what chance from politicians?

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  • Its not exactly Rocket science that we need more GPs. Its the DoH's deliberate and systematic brutalizing of GPs that is driving GPs away from the country and making Medical students run in the opposite direction. Whatever it is that Agent Hunt has planned is happening. Implosion in progress... steer clear... preferably change route to Canada, Australia or NZ !!!

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  • Is this "a breaking news"

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  • Jeremy wont be happy !!!!!

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  • Today chief says GPs must do better at asthma arthritis
    Just not good enough
    Yesterday gps must do better at cancer
    Come on guys what are you doing

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  • GP's are selfish arrogant people, they complain because we expect them to work 24/ 7 whilst constantly being battered by this government, they expect time off to go home a sleep at night, how dare they ask for a holiday, why should they get one, and why should they want top spend time with their own family when patients need them?

    Somewhere along the line somebody forgot that GP's are actually just normal human beings that have no magic powers, that want to do the best fro their patients without having to prove that they actually did xyz! Our GP's are taking a bashing but without them, there would be no NHS.

    We hear about patient choice and patient rights, but what about the GP's right to do the job he /she trained many years to do, without having everyone checking that they are capable of doing every little task?

    Who checks the CQC are up to the job which lead to the Stafford enquiry, or NHSE that that only answer questions they think fit, and go off early at Christmas whilst threatening GP's with action if they dared to close the surgery early on christmas eve? Who checks the government who spend money on little houses for their ducks?

    Accountability is important but it appears to be all one way, and the shortage of GP's is because nobody can be that mad that they would choose medicine as a career given the way our GPs are treated!

    If MP's were as good at their job as GP's are as good as at doing theirs' what a fantastic country we would have ... but we can all dream!

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