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Reaction: Jeremy Hunt's 'New Deal'

Read all the reaction to the health secretary’s announcement of a ‘new deal’ for general practice

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair, GPC

The Secretary of State is right to highlight the great strengths of general practice and the need to increase investment to support this vital service that is so valued by patients.  

The priority must be to first address this overwhelming workload pressure GPs face, in order to  re-establish general practice as a career that is rewarding and appealing - only this will improve GP recruitment and retention. It is vital that government  moves beyond rhetoric and brings forward tangible resources and practical solutions to stabilise general practice, and give GP s the time and tools to care holistically for patients  We need urgent action now, not just aspiration for the future.

 

Dr Maureen Baker, chair, RCGP

We are really pleased that the Secretary of State is publicly acknowledging the value of general practice and the sterling job done by hardworking GPs up and down the country every day on behalf of their patients – after years of GPs being used as a whipping post by successive governments.

The College is credited widely for making a very compelling case for more investment in general practice -  including thousands more GPs -  and the emphasis that Mr Hunt places on boosting our workforce by  ‘recruiting, retaining and returning’ GPs shows that he is listening to us.

The secretary of state makes many commitments which, if they come to fruition, will put general practice on a more stable and secure footing for the future and ensure that family doctors can keep pace with rocketing patient demand and increasingly complex caseloads.

 

Dr Steve Kell co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners

As co-commissioners of general practice our members will be involved in programmes to develop and improve the quality of general practice in their local areas. NHSCC is well placed to work with our members, NHS England and others to design a programme of support for practices that is clinically led and clinically driven.

Vital to the development of this work will be to ensure that CCGs have the tools, capacity and resource to support practices effectively, which must include funding choices and running cost flexibility. It is essential CCGs are enabled to shift funding and support into out of hospital services as described in the 5 Year forward view, and deliver genuine support for practices.

Dr Zoe Norris, GP in Hull, Huffington Post blogger

Jeremy Hunt’s new deal for GPs is classically lacking on detail and big on rhetoric. There is a reaffirming of the pledge to recruit another 5,000 GPs, but interestingly no timescale for this. Physician associates, pharmacists and practice nurses all get a mention too.  Mr Hunt will generously tell us which areas of the country are under-doctored – I think we can already do this ourselves. He has promised increased flexibility for part-time GPs, but little idea of how this will be delivered on the ground.

An interesting and welcome change is the chance for trainees to spend an extra year in paediatrics, psychiatry or emergency care. There are definite pros to this; that trainees will gain extra skills and confidence in key areas relevant to primary care. There may be a sense of déjà vu too, when we remember calls to extend GP training to five years from three, and this plan was kyboshed because it would take too long for doctors to get through and join the workforce. So while it is admirable to want to offer a wider experience to GP trainees, it is hands on primary care they often need more time in; I’d argue its idealistic to be doing this at a time of such acute shortages.

 

Michael Ogilvie, medical accountant

The current sound bites are a bit like what happened with the Health and Social Care Act. They make demands but do not think them through carefully, and this will mean even more doctors retiring early and coming back as locums costing the NHS more

They say federations are the answer to everything - they aren’t. However, get surgeries collaborating locally and they can share responsibilities , resources and costs, and we might get a more fit-for-purpose NHS.

Specialism is one of the answers, getting pharmacists involved in prescribing is another, and getting these rare breeds called nurses more involved is another - but there are not enough to go round.

However, if more thought is applied to more effective use of these limited resources we might have a better chance - this means doctors doing what only doctors can do, nurses doing what nurses can do, etc etc.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation

We welcome Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comments on the role that primary and community care has in tackling the challenges facing the health service. Other countries look upon our system of list-based general practice with envy and we need to use it as the foundation for great care. Well-supported GPs have a huge role to play in this - and they are not alone.

We need to recognise that primary care extends far beyond GPs. The NHS Confederation has for a long time argued that increasing GP numbers alone will not solve workforce pressures in primary care.

 

Dr Nav Chana, Chairman of The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC)

This approach to workforce development in primary care must be focused on building teams with the right skills needed to address local population needs as well as addressing shortages in GP numbers.

NAPC recognises the importance of improving access to primary care across seven days, however, we need to ensure we first get the system right “in hours” and build on the evidence around patient access to avoid falling in the trap of supply induced demand. In addition there may be many more solutions to be explored for providing a seven-day service.

We also welcome the approach to reviewing outcomes around patient groups but wish to ensure that these include an emphasis on outcomes that matter to people including wellness, prevention and self-care as well as those related to illness.

Readers' comments (46)

  • "interesting and welcome change is the chance for trainees to spend an extra year in paediatrics, psychiatry or emergency care...."
    Translation - more hospital serfdom for trainees to fill the vacant jobs in hard-to-recruit specialities.

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  • Oh, GPC and RCGP heads - thanks for your sycophantic sucking up to this man and the establishment - no less then what we would expect.

    You all need to stop congratulating yourselves on doing sod all, and start working for those that pay your salaries, and for those that you claim to represent.

    The GPs do NOT want this - except Ivan in Manchester.

    We cant cope with current demand on our times, we are unlikely to be able to cope with more.

    FIRST get the 5000 more GPs and finance them - THEN say you are going to open extra because you have the manpower to do so.


    I am not surprised at all.

    Prof Baker - you couldnt answer me in a sensible manner yesterday in Leicester, and I expect nothing else from you - you plainly do not care for grassroots GPs, and certainly not for those of us new in practice.

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  • there are two types of GPs

    type I - GP as public servant and they will do whatever is required to keep the NHS going (see Chand and Nagpaul)

    type 2 - GP as independent professionals - the majority of pulse commentators seem to be this group and they are busy looking for an exit.

    the question is how many of type 2 GPs are there, will they unite to provide an alternative primary care model (?private) or will type 1 prevail?

    my guess is type 1 will prevail and whatever the state wants will be enabled. There is a cull going on and they simply want type 2 GPs out.

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  • Anonymous | Salaried GP | 19 June 2015 10:50am

    great analysis, however type 1 are the ones of an age to retire, type 2 are the ones we all need

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  • Qasim at 10.14 - you call our leaders 'sycophantic' - you are truly polite!

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  • Maureen Baker, stop fiddling whilst General Practice burns. You will be the Royal College of B*gger All soon.

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  • I was more concerned reading Maureen Baler's comments than Jeremy Hunt's.

    And, Chaand, what are the GPC going to do about it? Things are falling apart.

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  • The BMA and RCGP should hang their heads in shame at their pitiful response. Do they actually believe in the health profession or only in the NHS surviving at whatever the cost is to their members.
    I have given them the benefit of the doubt till now. However my resignation from the quisling organisations happens today.
    It everyman for themselves and the NHS can ram it!

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  • When will some of our so called leaders start shouting very loudly that primary care is sinking at an alarming rate and is in great danger of disappearing. All JH has done today is move a single deck chair and then not very far.

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  • Just like Sep Blatter and FIFA -elected but had to step down;- Dr Baker do the decent thing -resign and leave the job for someone more capable of doing whats required for frontline GPs (from an RCGP member)

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