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LMC issues letter to patients following Hunt’s ‘penance’ comments

GP leaders in Coventry have provided practices with a leaflet to give to their patients, explaining that general practice is ‘in crisis’ and GPs are working as hard as they can. 

The LMC said it acted following comments by health secretary Jeremy Hunt that general practice had been ‘starved of resources progressively’ as ‘penance’ for the 2004 contract – which the BMA said showed GPs were being unfairly punished at a time when they were working harder than ever.

It states that GPs in the city are aware of issues around access, and that the LMC feels patients should know why. 

The letter explains: ‘Coventry GPs are aware that some patients are finding it increasingly difficult to get the appointments and services they need from us, and feel you should be made aware of the reasons.

‘Over the past few years, successive governments have reduced the investment in general practice from around 10% of the NHS budget to nearer 7%. In spite of this reduction in funding we still provide 90% of consultations carried out in the NHS.’

In addition, the leaflet highlights the ‘huge difficulties’ in recruiting GPs and nurses, concluding: ‘In short, general practice is in crisis’.

Dr Pete Whidborne, the LMC chair said in an accompanying statement: ‘I am appalled that Jeremy Hunt admits to punishing Coventry patients because he disagrees with a previous Labour Government decision.’

The LMC leaders also said that plans for next year’s contract look set to make matters worse.

Dr Jamie Macpherson, Coventry LMC medical secretary, said that Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposals for seven-day GP services would lead to ‘decreased access when most of our patients wish to use services during the week, and reduced continuity’.

Read the leaflet here


Readers' comments (8)

  • Secure environments GP

    Bless me father Jeremy for I have sinned, it is 10 years since my last confession of a pay rise.

    More seriously, it's an abuse of power that he is admitting too, no employer could give this as a legally acceptable reason for underfunding a critical service and under-remunerating hard-working staff.

    Also, he has in effect claimed responsibility for a worsening primary care services and thereby deliberately destroying the NHS out of spite, finally admiting to personally targeting GPs (& therefore their patients).

    The entire issue about 7-day access is perceptual and about apparent convenience. Fundamental to this issue, it has become about meeting the perceived needs of the state and not the perceived needs of the patient. To make it worse, we also have to contend with blind ignorance of the actual workforce crisis.

    7-day access will not solve any issues but it certainly will create a lot. It will require a considerable increase in the number of GPs (and they aren't there), it will create a significant increase in costs (you still need to pay staff), it will increase the amount of litigation - principally because of the failure of continuity of care, and it will increase the unhappiness in the profession. The next point is that there isn't even a proven need just a particular political desire to pander to the perceptions of the electorate which lack any substance.

    The arguments that it will reduce the demand on secondary services and A&E have not been proven. This argument is continually repeated but the evidence that it makes a substantial and ongoing difference is lacking. You will just see the same stuff on the weekend that you did during the week, and the people who were going to go to A&E will go there anyway. So now you have more GPs, more staff, longer hours and no improved productivity with a significant increase in cost.

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  • Work out what can be supplied on the present funding and supply only that .

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  • Vinci Ho

    Good work
    Anti-spinning , that is what we need in a media war

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  • i'm sure you will find that its' the bma/lmc/anyone that is misrepresenting the government view as what they said has been not understood/taken out of context/taken at face value etc

    more pr twisting to come.

    sadly the sheep are united behind the government so time to leave the ss nhs

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  • Good for them. Why don't other LMCs follow suit? Wessex?

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  • Coventry just proves the point that high immigration cities=high cost.Leicester is no different.

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  • I plan to get out asap.

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  • I think Mr Hunt has finally voiced what we already knew. Our 2004 contract was a good, fair rise in pay to enable primary care to flourish. Ten years down the line and it has been squeezed until the pips have dried! I am out at 55 and many of my colleagues at a recent meeting feel the same. The workload is unsustainable as it stands and the concept of doing more for the 7 day access LIS fills me with dread. I feel burnt out with decades of burden as a GP, although I still love talking to patients. It's everything else around what GP has defaulted to that makes me feel so hopeless. Roll on August 2017!

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