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GP leaders renew calls for funding as Plymouth practices ‘on the edge of viability’

GP leaders have called for extra funding for practices in Plymouth as they work ‘on the edge of viability’.

This comes after it was revealed that a fifth of practices in Plymouth have either closed or handed back their contract in the past three years, leaving 34,000 patients without a fixed GP.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said: ‘NHS England has a very simple choice: it either provides extra funding so that we can keep the service running, or they don’t and the service collapses.’

A BBC report revealed that a former partner of Ocean Health, a 22,000 patient practice that closed its patient list last year, was forced to complete CQC paperwork while undergoing chemotherapy because of workload pressures.

Dr Rachel Tyler said: ‘I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go on long-term sick to have treatment.

‘I was typing up my CQC presentation in the process of having chemotherapy. I was doing that on an oncology ward so I could come in the following week.’

Responding to the report, Dr Sanford-Wood, who is also a GP in Devon, said: ‘The situation in Plymouth may be particularly intense, but it should be seen as a warning of what the rest of the country faces without urgent action to address the pressures in general practice.'

He added: ‘The current funding settlement in general practice means most practices are operating on the edge of viability, and unless more is done by the government and NHS England – which includes addressing the severe recruitment and retention crisis – we are likely to soon see a repeat of the scenes in Plymouth across the country.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • Hunt's answer will be: "To protect patient safety, we will strike more doctors off the list and charge them with gross negligence manslaughter (while running dangerously low on NHS staff) to keep the public safe.
    We will also create a new CQC to oversee the CQC and inspect practices more regularly to keep standards up and publish more guidelines on how to consult and wash your hands."
    They do not understand it is not just the money. It is the mental stress caused to doctors from over regulation.

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  • John Humphreys reflected the publics opinion on BBC this morning when he asked/barked:
    'Please don't tell me that the problem is money?' (coz what we simply want is a fast, cheap, quality service).
    The problem may not be just money but it mostly is.

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  • David Banner

    This is the inevitable consequence of allowing partnerships to wither and die without putting any alternative in their place. Hunt states that he “values partnerships” whilst his actions undermine them at every turn. Result? The over 50s leaving in their droves whilst the under 40s wouldn’t touch a partnership with a 20 foot colonoscope.
    Federations are the equivalent of clambering into lifeboats together, you still need rescuing by a big ship.
    Hunt must either put his money where his mouth is, or come up with a Plan B. Support and promote partnerships, or replace them, but stop torturing them.
    Otherwise it’s Plymouth today, your town tomorrow.

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  • 'fast cheap quality service' an oxymoron if ever there was one.

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  • Plymouth's remaining GPs should immediately start to plan for a future outside the NHS. The BMA should assist. Learn from our Dental colleagues.

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  • AlanAlmond

    I don’t think the politicians in London give a shit about primary care provision in Plymouth. Do you think they do? Will Babylon save the day in Plymouth? No. But that’s the agenda in London. Babylon. Making it easy for 20-30 something’s to chat with a Doc on their iPhone. That’s all the rage, that’s what Jeremy Hunt is thinking about. They don’t give a flying f£&+ about the population of Plymouth. If they did something would be being done. Someone other than PULSE would be reporting about it and ’ job for life’ unsackable, unaccountable BBC fossils like those mentioned above would have something more intelligent to add rather than the stale mindless crap they repeatedly trot out at the moment. Plymouth doesn’t matter. (It obviously does but given the lack of interest in London / media / politicians / BBC - that’s actually the only conclusion to be drawn.

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  • John Humphreys and his ilk in publicly funded news services can afford to be rude and flippant about the failing health services. He can afford private medical care out of his £650K annual salary.

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  • It's not just money. Its 14 hour days, CQC, Patient complaints, NICE and 6/12 Reviews, Manslaughter charges, GMC, having to cover for 4 absent colleagues and getting reported to GMC, Appraisal and so and forth.
    Our leaders [ God bless them] keep bleating about the NHS funding for some 10+ years now, but when they were given a clear mandate to ballot for resignation, they did not.
    It is the Govt.'s responsibility to provide care to its citizens. So, let them.

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  • Complete lack of understanding by Esso Man about how to oil the wheels of Primary care. A committee man, kicked out by his own Partnership, who singularly fails to understand the complexities of general practice whilst furthering his own personal agenda. And no personal interest in Plymouth obviously eh Dr Gorgeous.....

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