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General practice facing a 20% pay cut with consultations set to soar by 2017

General practice faces a £1.59bn real terms funding cut by 2017 despite predicted patient consultations due to increase by 69 million if current trends continue, new research published by the RCGP shows.

The study, conducted by Deloitte, predicts that UK general practice funding is set to reach a record low of 7.29% of the NHS budget by 2017/18, from 8.39% in 2012/13.

It also predicts that the patient pressure will also continue as the population ages and work shifts from hospitals to primary care with an estimated 409m consultations expected in 2017/18, from 340 million in 2012/13.

The report will be officially unveiled at a House of Commons event on Thursday, and follows the launch of the RCGPs ‘Put patients first: Back general practice’ campaign - run in conjunction with the National Association of Patient Participation (NAPP).

The campaign is asking for 11% of NHS funding to be put into general practice, and the new report estimates that to just ‘stand still’ general practice would need at least £11.47bn – 9.81% of the projected 2017/18 budget.

General practice handles 90% of the NHS’s contacts but has been handed funding cuts for the best part of a decade.

Chair of the RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker, said that waiting lists were growing because investment had already been ‘cut to the bone’.

She said: ‘These projections show just how grim the future looks for the care of our patients in general practice, across the UK.’

‘The current approach to the way we fund general practice makes no economic sense at all - as investment is being cut at the very point that demand is soaring.

‘Investment in general practice has already been cut to the bone, and these projections show that by the middle of the next Parliament general practice will be teetering on the brink.’

Patricia Wilkie, president and chair of the National Association of Patient Participation, said patient care was being compromised by waiting times and better continuity of care was needed.

She said:  ‘We believe that there needs to be increased investment in patients and GP care in order to improve and sustain the high standards of quality in patient care that patients need and GPs want to give.’

Readers' comments (26)

  • Not going to happen under the nasty Tories and class war old labour only solution is a workforce crises but I suppose the Tories have already planned to ship in cheap east European doctors

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  • Took Early Retirement

    No one need worry: by 2017 the system as we now know it will have ceased to exist in many parts of the country. These extra consultations may happen, but they will not be with a GP.

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  • Dear Canada, I would like to take up one of your many available Family Practitioner posts because.......

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  • Not to mention cap on pension funds £1.25 m this year £1 m next year then all stations south . Retirement will be curtailed because you won't be able to afford it . Bail out now.

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  • If inflation is 2.5 % on average we have already had a 30 % cut since 2004.

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  • the average GP earns 80k so plenty of slack in system.

    keep the cuts coming - we need to get income down to about 30k per year (enough to live on).

    This will sort out the GPs that truly care about their patients ('the right sort of GP') as they will stay in the NHS and am sure will be more than happy to federate into salaried posts with 24/7 cover.

    The GPs that care about themselves and family can leave the NHS!

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  • There will be a point where the over 50s will be better of retiring than working.

    Oops we've reached that point already.

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  • Anon @ 06:26,

    Are you a GP? If not I suggest you give it a go then re-evaluate your comment.

    I for one will never put any job ahead of my family or personal health, and if that makes me a bad doctor, do be it. I think it actually keeps me sane, healthy and able to better relate to my patients who I am sure would feel the same.

    I did not go into medicine to martyr myself. To help people, but to earn a good wage also. There is nothing wrong, lazy or criminal about this. I am trained to the same level as any other professional, it's just that my knowledge and experience is browsed and shallower rather than narrower and deeper like a hospital specialists is. In this day and age of complexity and multiple illnesses, being general is equally important as being a S.O.D (single organ doctor).

    What you're suggesting is absurd really.

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  • This comment has been moderated

  • There is an important concept to clarify: when one refers to investment in GPs , it is not about money going directly into GP partners' pocket . It is about delivering more but needs money as well as manpower/expertise and they are both 'investment'.Instead the government goes for the opposite direction. Look at the rural practices at risk of closing down because their basic funding is being taken away(MPIG). There is not even a chance to talk about further funding.
    It is a clever move for RCGP to involve NAPP. Unfortunately , the media is never prepared to be 'understanding ' . When Maureen Baker was interviewed on BBC news last week , she was basically treated as the 'housewife ' always asking for more money.
    One just hope more people in the public can understand the predicament GPs are under........

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  • Vinci Ho

    Anon 9:12pm is my comment
    Vinci Ho

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