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'New deal' to strengthen profession, DH says in response to Pulse readers' concerns

The DH has responded to Pulse readers’ concerns about Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’ by claiming that it will strengthen the profession, and that patients want seven-day access.

Pulse editor Nigel Praities contacted the Department of Health with 50 readers’ comments on the ‘new deal’, which warned that it was the ‘final straw’ for general practice and that the health secretary had ‘failed to deliver’ a plan to help the profession.

Many GPs expressed anger that the investment pledged wouldn’t be sufficient to fund an extension of core GP opening hours –and would be unlikely to materialise - and the failure to recognise the enormous pressure GPs are already working under.

Sessional GP Dr John Pike said the funding was inadequate and would neglect existing out of hours services, saying: ‘This is the final straw for GPs. As a locum, I am partially protected from some of the worst aspects of this “new deal” but I stand in solidarity with GP partners, for whom routine seven-day working is unnecessary and absolutely impossible to deliver given that the five-day system is on its knees. OOH services already provide an adequate service at other times.’

Pulse columnist Dr Shaba Nabi set out a seven point list of problems, including Mr Hunt’s lack of understanding about how important continuity of care is, and how seven-day working will impact this.

She said: ‘You have done nothing in your so called deal to make the job more attractive and more manageable. We need money for standing still. We need to drop all QOFs/DESs/LESs and such like and retain historic money. This is the breathing space we so desperately needed and you have failed to deliver.’

In his letter to the DH, Mr Praities wrote: ‘Pulse asked its readers to give their response to the “new deal” for general practice announced by the health secretary last month. So far, we have had 49 responses from GPs and, after talking to many GPs myself, I can tell you that they do reflect the strength of opinion about the speech.   

‘As I am sure you are aware, this is a crucial time for general practice and it is very important that the discussion of how to ensure patients get the best care continues.’

A response from a DH spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the importance of general practice and the work GPs do. The New Deal for GPs speech set out how we plan to help strengthen the profession, to create a better service for both patients and GPs.

‘The health secretary has pledged at least 10,000 extra primary and community care staff - including 5,000 doctors in general practice as well as practice nurses, district nurses, physician associates and pharmacists to relieve the pressure on general practice.

‘We know GPs are focused on providing a good service to their patients, and routine access to GPs at evenings and weekends is what people want. We will help GPs achieve that with more resource and we are exploring extra incentives to attract doctors into areas of greatest need.’

Readers' comments (25)

  • 'New deal' to strengthen demise of profession, DH says in response to Pulse readers' concerns

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  • People want Porsches and Cocaine, doesn't mean the government has to use our money to give it to them.

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  • "People want Porsches and Cocaine, doesn't mean the government has to use our money to give it to them."

    I wouldn't mind so much if doctors were actually going to be paid to give 7 day routine access. However, all the indications are that they will all be doing it with no extra resources.

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  • The DoH can't do this, all they want is for one practice in every region to have some sat/sun access and then they will fund something before the next election cycle to claim its been done.

    Pure political malignancy

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  • Well, at least they are feeling a bit of heat from the momentum that the campaign for a reality check has garnered.

    What i fail to understand though, is how come bankers should be paid what they are worth because of their value to the uk and the mobile workforce, and GPs not? The young GP of today can be mobile, and is certainly leaving for greener shores, so they need to realise this quickly before the exodus reaches an unrecoverable position.

    They didnt listen to the tube drivers until they went on strike, and i dont think theyll listen to us either.

    Lets just see what comes of this...

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  • Have I missed something?

    There was no substance to the "new deal". It was a promise of around 16p per patient across the UK and the fake promise of 5,000 GPs that everyone knows will not materialise. What exactly is the "New Deal" and why would anyone agree to work for 40% longer for essentially no funding?

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  • @ 6:13, you are correct with your observation that young GP's have "numerous options" in how they develop their careers...

    the DOH is out of date and incapable of dealing with the realities of the modern world. It has been used to for so long at holding all the cards with respect to working conditions that its policies are increasingly becoming addled and self destructive;

    they have for almost a decade been ignoring independent recommendations of pay review bodies, changing pension terms and conditions and offering "new deals" that are essentially recycling old garbage with a little bit of spin in the media to bully through the changes they wish to impose;

    working as a doctor in the uk is now the lowest common denominator. its about paying less and less for more and more work; You can see it in front of you, you can feel it in your psyche you can notice it in your decreasing take home pay and increasing medical defense indemnity subscriptions.............not to mention your constant state of stress and burnout....

    these are the things that count and not some stupid propaganda headline and latest hairbrained scheme;

    FACT: doctors in other parts of the world- (GP's and consultants) can become millionaires within a few years of hard work. they can choose how they live and often the amount of work they undertake; they are not paid peanuts like in England where your offered a few pounds per consultation.

    doh doesn't care however -they will flood primary care with cheap physician assistants and pharmacists and try and knock pay down even more...... they wants everyone on the same socialist wage regardless of skills and qualifications; state workers will earn average wages across UK!!! 30K HOOOORRRRRRAAAAAA!!!

    glad I left and live a proper life at last; you can keep your bloody socialism!!

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  • @ 6.47

    Well done. Spread the message.

    The NHS can only exist in its present form by becoming an even more exploitative and abusive employer. The root cause is political expediency and refusal by our political masters for a sensible debate on funding (like the rest of the world) as this is judged to be too risky for them.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Be honest to ourselves. Would we seriously expect any answer different from this? This is Ministry of Truth and Agent Hunt.
    Neglecting 200,000 people asking him to f*** off , he is not interested in opinions of 49.
    The true colour of a politician ...,

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  • Vinci Ho

    For those who still believe the new deal can give us new hope . I tell you what is hope:

    President Snow: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it's contained.
    Hunger Games

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