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General practice has been deprioritised under this Government, says think-tank

The Coalition Government has ‘neglected’ general practice and this is likely to have had ‘real consequences’ for patients, the influential King’s Fund think-tank has said.

The think-tank’s ‘The NHS under the coalition government’ report notes that patient satisfaction with general practice remains high and there has been a recent improvement in investment in primary care.

However, it concludes that the steady decline in patient experience and staff morale in general practice will make the next parliament ‘extremely challenging’.

It also found that the Government’s record in general practice has escaped measurement due to a lack of routinely collected data.

The pre-election report reviewed the current Government’s record on the NHS since coming to power in 2010.

It concluded: ‘The relative neglect of general practice… appears to have resulted in lower priority being given to primary care during this parliament as measured by the share of the budget allocated to it, although steps are now being taken to tackle this.’

The King’s Fund said that it was ‘not possible to quantify the impact on patients’, but added that the ‘consequences are likely to have been real’.

Under the Coalition, the number of GPs per 1,000 of population has decreased, it added.

It said: ‘Once population growth is taken into account, total staff per 1,000 population has reduced by around 2% as have the numbers of GPs (‒3%) and qualified nursing staff (‒2%).’

This is despite official figures released the same week heralding a 1.7% increase in full time equivalent GPs between September 2013 and 2014.

The report notes that the failure to increase GP numbers in line with population growth is even more severe when the increasing number of elderly patients is taken into account.

Readers' comments (12)

  • The woods are already full the bears will have to go somewhere else.

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  • Secure environments GP

    What a surprise !

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  • "deprioritised"?

    "destroyed" more like...

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  • Vinci Ho

    While I normally consider King's Fund as pro-establishment, this report can perhaps be labelled as 'relatively condemning'. What does it tell you about behind the curtain?
    A lie can never be disguised as the truth and the truth cannot be condemned as a lie......

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  • to be fair to the coalition they have in general neglected all of the NHS !

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  • The mandarins who have orchestrated this slick and effective campaign against GP's ( consultants and nurses as well but not as much) thought by closing down practices and having large health centres run by private companies ( many are Political party donors) they would save money.
    However experiment with using private companies has caused the health economy dearly in terms of cost and quality. Also put companies are now hesitant to compete with GP's as they cannot afford the market rate and make profit as salaried staff won't work extra like partners do. Patients are the biggest losers. In some areas patients apparently now have to travel 40 miles to see their nearest GP. NHS has been reduced from being the envy of the world to third world health care in a short period.
    Non medical private companies by definition have to maximise profit for their shareholders and hence push work into someone else to save costs. OOH is an typical example - it cost the government £3 or so per patient per year when GP's were doing it, when it was removed the private companies charged up to £ 50 / patient/ yr in some areas. This has been addressed slowly and now range is£5 to£15 /pat/yr. However A&E attendances have rocketed (esp. post 111) as good quality care is difficult at these prices.

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  • Food for thought,,,
    Medway OOH Provider Meddoc charges 27 pounds for telephone advice; 49 pounds for a base visit and 89 pounds for a home visit - applicable from 01.04.2015

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  • the visit rate is good value. can take an hour + to do a visit 5-10 mins fro a phone call

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  • A local OOH previously advertised a pvt home visit as £150-£175. Now they don`t quote a rate officially.
    So anon at 8.58 am post of a charge for pvt HV is £ 89 seems very reasonable - there maybe small print eg- 3miles radius etc.

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  • The payments are made by GP Surgeries gettin73 pounds per patient per year. Does that still seem reasonable?

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