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GPs go forth

Voters 'will expect incoming Government to solve GP crisis', say GP leaders

Politicians must address the issue of 'full' GP surgeries when the country goes to the polls for a snap general election proposed for 8 June, doctors' leaders have said.

Responding to the news that Prime Minister Theresa May will bring a motion to Parliament to call an election in just seven weeks' time, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said 'politicians of all partiers' must not 'duck the crisis in the NHS any longer', as NHS staff including GPs are now working under 'impossible conditions'.

And Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said voters would 'expect' any incoming Government to reverse the situation of GP underfunding to solve the crisis in general practice.

Dr Vautrey said: 'It is widely accepted that general practice is in crisis, with spiralling workload pressures that most GPs believe are putting patients at risk, and too few GPs, practices nurses and other staff to meet the growing needs of an increasingly elderly population.

'Voters will expect any incoming Government to reverse a decade of underfunding general practice services and make real and tangible commitments to addressing unsustainable workload pressures and to rebuilding general practice and community services, because if general practice fails the NHS will fail.'

Meanwhile, Dr Porter said this comes as 'consecutive governments have been in denial about the state of the NHS' and at the time of elections, they have 'chosen to use it as a political football'.

He said: 'Health is always one of the most important issues for the people of this country and with the NHS at breaking point, having been put through one of the worst winters on record, it must be a central issue in the upcoming election. The NHS must not be pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit.

'Staff have ensured that we still have one of the best health services in the world, but years of underinvestment while patient demand has been rising means that it is now failing too many people, too often.'

He said this comes as 'our hospitals and GP surgeries are full and social care is on its knees, with staff working under impossible conditions'.

And, despite calls for Britain's exit from the EU not to overshadow election policies, he added that there were still 'serious question marks over the future of thousands of EU citizens who are a vital part of the NHS', which did need to be addressed.

He concluded: 'We call on politicians of all parties not to duck this crisis any longer, and instead to outline credible and sustainable plans that will safeguard the future of the fully funded and supported NHS that staff want and patients deserve.'

His comments come as Pulse revealed a 150% rise in patients forced to move GP practice, as closures hit record levels in the past year and as a DH-backed study showed that over two-thirds of GPs plan to leave or reduce hours in the next five years.

Also commenting on the election announcement, RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that it was 'crucial' that 'any future government' delivers the £2.4bn GP Forward View rescue package for general practice.

She said: 'It is vital that patient care is kept at the forefront of debate over the coming weeks.

'Once the new Government is formed, we will continue to press for the urgent delivery of all the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View - and for equivalent investment in GP services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.'

Readers' comments (20)

  • It's too late for me. I've left my partnership. I have no skin in the game. My plans are to leave General Practice completely in the next eighteen months.

    This is what the dreadful working conditions have done. Caused thousands of us to rethink our futures. They will be different to how we imagined but probably better for our health and wellbeing. Of course this will not be the same for our patients. They will reap what their Government has planned for them.

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  • Please stop describing these ghastly self-important bags of hot-air as our leaders.

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  • This ought to be a NHS election, not a Brexit election. The BMA and Royal Colleges must campaign to keep the crisis in the forefront of the political debates.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Slightly disappointed of the blockbusters released this year so far Logan, Kong, Ghost in the shell , Fate of the furious etc.(consider I am still in stupid La La Land mood ).They are good but not so good as being quite predictable.
    A more potentially unpredictable and 'entertaining' blockbuster struck the ground yesterday when Auntie May's announced a snap shot general election. Not entirely surprising but the timing is intriguing.
    She said she only 'recently and reluctantly' changed her mind and blamed the oppositions , Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat in dividing Westminster :
    Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not."
    She said the "division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit".

    The country is coming together , isn't it?How true you believe this is the case? Obviously, her telos is to
    win a bigger majorly in Westminster as another piece of her sustainability transformation plan(STP) of Brexit .
    This post Brexit general election will mean , however, differently to different voters , even amongst those who had voted for the same party in 2015. Brexit had created a whole new complex categories of voters : so called Remoaners and Bregretters on one hand versus true Brexiters (not sure how many Remains now believe in leaving EU).
    But clearly , a referendum is direct democracy on ONE and only one issue . General election is indirect democracy, as in line of representative politics , on MULTIPLE issues .
    All the domestic issues have been put aside due to the distraction of Brexit for at least two years(or more).
    The usual geopolitics in this country has been complicated by post Brexit psychology complexes, bearing in mind the two main parties, Conservative and Labour , are still well divided within themselves. Poor Tarzan got sacked without ever meeting his latest 'Jane'(at least he had own choice of walking away from his previous one's cabinet in 1986). A well known non MP Labour politician in Liverpool told me yesterday his party leader should be resoundingly defeated in this forthcoming election and that perhaps ,would be a better fortune for his party next five years.
    There are many issues which will govern the voting directions on 8/6/2017.
    The truth is the incoming government will have duties at three levels: political , legislative and moral responsibilities for Brexit and its consequences.The PM may like to think the legislations were all dealt with after the House of Lords failed to inflict any burden on passing the Brexit legislation with subsequent triggering of Article 50 a month ago . She would like to consider this snap election to be her opportunity to snatch a political stronghold of the parliament silencing all oppositions once and for all. At this moment of time , she is certainly not the 'chosen' one who can sit comfortably on the Iron Throne. She fears the oppositions no matter how feeble they appear to be(ironic that the U-turns seen in House of Commons , for instance , disability benefit changes and rise in class 4 national insurance,were actually down to oppositions from her own party backbenchers).
    Conquering your oppositions is far better than convincing them what is the 'right' thing to do. The ambition to have a majority of more than 12 seats as present standing , is beyond the boundary of Brexit. But the saying ,'be careful of what you wish, my dear' always echo in the background.
    The problem is moral responsibilities which circulate all the other 'multiple issues' coming along with Brexit : EU citizens who have proved themselves as valuable asset working in U.K. , money that should have been promised for NHS, rights of workers protected by current EU legislations , turning UK into a tax haven to confront EU if no 'good deal' is agreed .......

    Yes , all current polls in media support a lead of more than 20 points for the prime minister but remember her aim is to win a 'majority' , 50-100 seats more in House of Commons represent her real destination.
    If that is achieved, there is little the government can go even more right wing and as many have commented, health service will be on course to be privatised and we should be all packing our bags etc. The question is:this just an one sided story?
    Anything less than a majority of seats in HOC or the small but not entirely impossible outcome of another coalition government , will be labelled as a defeat to the PM.
    For those who represent us and the rest of medical professionals, this is the time for some serious thinking : just let the politics decide the future of NHS and general practice? Or at least , make it really difficult for Auntie May to win a majority of seats in HOC bearing in mind , many voters , though feeling really exhausted by the frequency of ballots in short space of time and how ugly 'things' had become around the referendum( Jo Cox should never be forgotten), still consider health and social care as an very important issue deep down. A health secretary carrying a baggage of over 220,000 votes of no confidence is a liability. A chief executive of NHS England ,with a five year vision feeling compelled to speak in public that the government was not providing enough money for him to do his job , is a dangerously flawed hypocrisy . A Tory chair of a health committee in House of Commons exposing the government lying about the real funding of NHS , is a true embarrassment to the credibility and honesty of Auntie May's party. If the prime minister thinks she can get away with a new manifesto with little mentioning of NHS for this coming election , this is a trigger point for a mass protest on the street right before 8/6/2017. The nurse union is already talking about a ballot of industrial action . Well, as I always say , doing the right thing at the right time at the right place. And do not forget the teachers and their representatives, similar appetite for 'actions' should bring forces together.
    Every event in history has an unique far reaching meaning .
    Love the latest TV series Supergirl. Here is a latest quote,''One wrong statistic about the stock market and suddenly we're in the Great Depression. One misattributed quote from a candidate, you put a fascist in a white house. The rules are there for a reason to make sure you get it right.''
    And what did Winston Churchill quote from Plutarch after losing the post war general election ?
    ''Ingratitude towards their great men is the mark of strong people.''

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  • The exodus will be like a snow ball going down a hill.It will gather more and more momentum(and numbers) as more retire and the rest get burnt out so they retire earlier the rest get burnt out quicker so they retire earlier etc etc etc until total workforce collapse.The pathetic efforts at GP recruitment will not compensate for the increasing degradation of the primary care workforce. RELP! as Scooby Doo would say.

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  • GP Surgeries need to put banners supporting any party but the Conservatives and making people aware of Steven Hunt syndrome and the NHSE connection. If May is successful in increasing her representation in the parliament, NHS is screwed completely as the arrogance will overspill.

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  • The public are unaware of any GP crisis.
    They have been largely protected from the consequences of this by us. Until we insist on sticking to better and safer terms and conditions (more time with fewer patients) at the expense of access, they won't really care.
    They are more aware of an A&E crisis, but not enough to really do anything much. I think we have to accept attitudes to the NHS are changing.
    The £2.4billion is smoke and mirrors - the RCGP need to wake up.
    The election will be all about Brexit.
    What are the chances of five more years of Jeremy Hunt?

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  • Bma talks a lot but does nothing.
    Bma is actually governments mouthpiece.

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  • AlanAlmond

    Very few will be voting Conservative because of their record on the NHS, but that won't stop them claiming theIr inevitable victory as a mandate. On current form it's curtains, with primary care the first bit to disappear. I sincerely hope Hunt gets the sack, if for no other reason than he obviously has in it for GPs - he's one of Cameron's Oxbridge buddies, not someone May directly chose, so maybe he will go. I hope they see the light and ditch Cameron's stunningly stupid 24/7 demand inducing obsession. There is always hope.

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