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GPs go forth

NHS multi-billion funding boost to be enshrined in law, announces Government

The Government has announced plans to pass legislation that will protect the already promised £34bn NHS funding boost due by 2023/24.

In the Queen's speech today, proposals were unveiled to enshrine the £20.5bn promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May -equivalent to an extra £33.9bn in cash terms - in law.

GP leaders said the legal commitment was a 'relief and necessity' and called on the Government to put general practice at the heart of any future NHS plans.

Addressing Parliament, the Queen said the Government will take legal steps to ensure recurrent funding is unlocked on a yearly basis for the NHS.

She said: 'For the first time, the national health service’s multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law.

'Steps will be taken to grow and support the national health service’s workforce and a new visa will ensure qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast-track entry to the United Kingdom. Hospital car parking charges will be removed for those in greatest need.'

At the start of the year, the Government said primary and community care would receive a £4.5bn funding boost by 2023/24 as part of the NHS long-term plan's £20.5bn investment.

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said the pledge must include resources for general practice. 

He said: 'The commitment in law to fund the NHS is both a relief and a necessity. We now need detail and we need general practice to feature prominently in any plans for the future of our health service.'

He added: 'The secretary of state for health and social care has described general practice as the "bedrock of the NHS" and it is – we hope these words, and the Government’s pledges, will be followed by the funding and resources necessary to deliver more GPs, more members of the practice team, and more support for frontline GPs, delivering care to more than a million patients every day.'

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'While it’s encouraging to see NHS funding guaranteed in law, the BMA has been clear that the money pledged by the government falls short of what’s needed to make up for years of underinvestment and to meet the rising health needs of Britain in the future.'

Dr Nagpaul stressed the 'urgent' change to legislation required to deal with ongoing pension tax charge issues, which has caused some doctors to reduce shifts.

Last month, the Conservative Party pledged to create 50 million more GP appointments a year by 6,000 new doctors to general practice by 2024/25 if it won the elections

Earlier this year, the Government committed to investing £4.5bn more in primary and community care by 2023/24.

But the BMA warned the commitment will fall short of £6.2bn per year.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    I took more pleasure last week from the news that our manager(LFC) had signed a extended contract to 2024-5 than our PM taking the helm of government in the same period of time .
    The reality is whether you are a die hard , traditional fan of either of the two big political parties( especially you are a Remain) , you have to be humbled by this extraordinary result of general election . The so called ‘Red Wall’ of Labour collapsed as far as their traditional supporters in the Midlands and North East are concerned . Only Liverpool and Merseyside have been left behind becoming the ‘’Winterfell in the realm of Westeros’’(Sorry , can’t help it , Game of Thrones again !).
    Well , one day of politics was too long , wasn’t it? These are the facts :
    (1) Like many , I was totally wrong to assume that people cared more about domestic issues especially NHS than Brexit . What is clear was , the uncertainties and frustrations generated in the last three years because of Brexit were the only real focus of attention in this election . If the referendum result in 2016 was a major trauma in life for many Remainers , they had realised that they needed to ‘move on with lives’ to avoid any more post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . That evidently explained why many traditional Labour supporters ended up casting their votes ( with shaking hands)to Mr Johnson and his party instead . I think one must respect this wish of these voters to reconcile with reality. And I personally even consider this as a new ‘quality’ of voters .
    (2) This victory bestowed to the PM , however , does not come with no price tag . Yes , it was monumental as far as a majority of 80 seats since Margaret Thatcher’s reign in the 80s(cannot wait until the next season of The Crown to see Gillian Anderson dressing up as the Iron Lady). But I think it is also extraordinary that many politicians in all parties(other than Mr Johnson’s most faithful sycophants) are well prepared to watch him closely under microscope and most outlandish of all , they could not wait to see him making the first serious mistake .
    (3) The similarities between Mr Trump and our PM are egregious and historic . Both had probably failed badly for the score of trustworthiness. They both succeeded by aid of some impenetrable, mystical but undoubtedly intelligent gurus (Mr Bannon and Cummings). And most importantly, both would survive any attempt to overthrow their current position as their own parties are far more superior in terms of number of seats in the decisive chamber( the Senate and House of Commons). Despite subjective feelings , I think Mr Trump will survive the impeachment as well as getting re-elected next year .

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    So often , western democracy is about soldiering on with the mandate approved by the majority in a ballot to settle disputes. But what about the feelings of the minority? It becomes more contentious if the so called minority is , in fact , fairly substantial. The winner certainly cannot ‘take it all’ as the minority will always want to voice their disagreements. Is a consolation prize necessary for some sort of settlement?
    I wonder if NHS is to serve this purpose in the next five years ?
    The PM spared no time to involve the Queen delivering this ‘settlement’ to appease those willing to loan him the winning votes. The Queen’s speech declared that the plan to enshrine multi-billion boost of NHS funding in law . This was amongst multiple announcements to pass a long series of legislation, obviously including the Brexit Withdrawal Bill , in this coming year .
    The PM and his cabinet was a paper tiger before the general election , it has now become a beast with 80 teeth . There is very little doubt these legislations will be passed smoothly with a comfortable majority. That was then and this is now (from zero to hero in politics).
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    So , what are we(GP) up against in reality ?

    (a) It is only fair to say that we have all been burnt out in variable degrees for the last decade . Our labour force is now constituted of half part-time and half so called full-time colleagues. The hitherto trend is that more will become sessional and part-time . How ruthless our PM and health secretary will tackle this ? I would rather keep my answers to myself at this stage .
    (b) Then the workload continues to rise due to the simple fact that secondary care really cannot deal with the number of patients walking through the door everyday .They will cut down even more referrals and dump them onto us . Of course , we cannot cope either . The government had negotiated with our representatives to develop this five year GP contract with the ideology of Primary Care Network (PCN) which has rapidly become a ‘household’ name amongst medical professionals and policy-makers. I would argue that the ‘dumping ground’ has only been made bigger instead of truly integrating care with secondary care . After all , a robust integration will only mean that we(GPs) will weaken either our sovereignty or the democracy.
    (b) I can only hope our representatives ( unfortunately including myself as a bloody senior partner , LMC member and hapless PCN Clinical Director) can grow up a bit more , away from political naivety and insensitivity. Next five years will be a fierce war against a PM and his health secretary characterised by notoriety , skulduggery but also tremendous power . The truth is that the PM does not need to believe in the ethos and telos of NHS as long as it can protect the votes loaned from those who would have remained in the opposition camps .
    (3) If you are a fan of the currently running TV series , His Dark Materials , we are now up against a ‘Magisterium’ . One thing for sure , however , is this war we are facing is no longer about blindly adhering to our moral alethiometer . There is no Lyra in real life . Instead , governed by terms and conditions, our weapon used in negotiations is ironically this retention and recruitment crisis following the line of a scorched-earth policy .
    While I always oppose BMA and RCGP officially declaring their position of remaining in EU , the potential animosity created by this government will be simply fuelled by this corresponding post-truth politics . I suppose that one will have to choose a side in a fierce war and there is no room for any middle ground rationality .....................

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  • Only in England!
    For example, our windfall medical indemnity cover available in England since April has got lost in doh Stormont and has not made its way to primary care as it was intended to do
    New money allocated through the Barnett formula will no doubt be diverted to secondary care as per usual leaving GP the forgotten poor relation,,,.

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  • I will not hold my breath. There is always an unwillingness to actually make things work. They give with the right with lots of strings attached and take with the left. There is no genuine help.

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