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NHS England to debate further support for 'intense pressures' GPs face following Pulse campaigning

Exclusive NHS England will debate the ‘intense pressures’ facing general practice in its board meetings this week as a result of GP lobbying through Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign.

In response to an urgent letter from Pulse, signed by more than 150 GPs and practice managers, NHS England chairman Professor Malcolm Grant has written to acknowledge the ‘seriousness’ of the issues affecting general practice.

Pulse said there needed to be ‘urgent reassessment of how GP practices are funded’, in particular looking at the devaluation of QOF payments, the MPIG withdrawal and the national review of PMS funding , and urged Professor Grant to ‘reconsider the restrictions on occupational health funding for practice staff, such as practice nurses or managers’.

Professor Grant added that he will raise the concerns about GP burnout at NHS England, with a view to it forming part of NHS England’s ‘five year forward view’ for NHS services, due next month.

GPC welcomed the development, and said it was essential that the issue remained on NHS England’s agenda.

Pulse wrote to Professor Grant after NHS England agreed to national provision of ‘high quality’ occupational health services for GPs in need, following intense campaigning by Pulse.

Professor Grant’s response states: ‘Thank you for your letter of 1 August 2014, in which you express the hope that our recognition, at NHS England, of the intense pressures on the GP profession, should be the first stage of a wider reassessment of how the NHS can support GPs better.

‘I am deeply conscious of the seriousness of this issue, and it is one that I will be raising with the Board of NHS England in our meetings next week.

‘It forms part of the complex framework for our thinking that we are developing for the five year forward view for the provision of NHS services that we are proposing to publish next month.’

Last week, the BMA launched a manifesto calling for political parties to pledge to invest in sustaining and supporting the NHS workforce, ahead of the 2015 general election.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse it was essential that this issue was kept on NHS England’s agenda, saying: ‘We cannot take off the pressure on this issue, because it isn’t just having an occupational health service, it’s have a fit for purpose occupational health service.

‘So we need to make sure that the pressure is maintained. Firstly to make sure it’s fit for purpose, second to make sure it covers all GPs – not just those in practices - and thirdly, that practice staff are also covered.

‘I don’t think this is an issue about whether or not you have an occupational health service; this is about the sustainability of general practice to continue providing care.’

NHS England had pledged to retain any legacy PCT funding for occupational health services that were in place when area teams took over, but Pulse revealed that many area teams were backtracking on the deal.

In some areas, occupational health services would only be funded where a GP’s performance was already suffering, and national availability of support services was highly variable.

Readers' comments (18)

  • from people i'm talking to so many GP's are planning to leave I would suggest you prepare for this. reduce your staffing costs,ensure neighbouring practices work with you. If you're small go talk to the bigger practices in the neighbourhood.
    Surely survival comes first and if funds allow then do more.

    As to the pharmacist relative with a chest infection, if they have closed shop the relative should surely go to an alternative centre ? walk in or A&E. if these things are being funded go there instead!

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  • As below- i agree .Why aren`t we doing ths??

    Anonymous | Practice Manager | 18 September 2014 12:30pm
    11.43 says mutiny is imminent. What are GPs waiting for? If thousands refuse to participate in Outside Boundary Scheme, FFT, Named Doctors for >75 and all the other hair brained schemes that Jeremy is introducing, the government would be powerless. Practices who are confident that they are providing a safe and quality service could refuse to allow CQC over the door. They can't withdraw the contract from thousands and you will get all the support you need from the patients who will enjoy a better service. And all this coming with a General Election next year. In other words there are plenty ways of taking industrial action without withholding services from the public.

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  • Vinci Ho

    One will hope he meant what he said and actually believed in what he actually said . Clearly the track record of NHSE so far is adding more petroleum to GPs to burn out instead , again attitude and behaviour as I always said. A puppet of a government is clearly not the same as a servant of people.......

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  • as below- i agree .Why aren`t we doing ths??
    We just need a leader to lead us cowards, we are only to blame, it is easy to leave to Australia or other places rather than fighting/ shouting from front.

    Anonymous | Practice Manager | 18 September 2014 12:30pm
    11.43 says mutiny is imminent. What are GPs waiting for? If thousands refuse to participate in Outside Boundary Scheme, FFT, Named Doctors for >75 and all the other hair brained schemes that Jeremy is introducing, the government would be powerless. Practices who are confident that they are providing a safe and quality service could refuse to allow CQC over the door. They can't withdraw the contract from thousands and you will get all the support you need from the patients who will enjoy a better service. And all this coming with a General Election next year. In other words there are plenty ways of taking industrial action without withholding services from the public.

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  • too late for me too. I went at 57.

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  • "Professor Grant added that he will raise the concerns about GP burnout at NHS England, with a view to it forming part of NHS England’s ‘five year forward view’ for NHS services, due next month."

    And NHSE's five year forward view is to make us all salaried....no doubt because the current arrangements are causing burnout.

    There is no commitment here whatsoever to solve the existing problems with the current system.

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  • I am afraid I would not leave for Australia if I thought we had the balls to fight for it but we don't so I will protect myself

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  • Nhse bears a lot of responsibility for burnout...their response to a profession under extreme pressure is to micromanage even more and impose even more ridiculous bureaucracy.
    This from an organisation that recently tried to abolish go occupational health.
    A good way to reduce burnout for both GPS and practicemanagers is for nhse to abolish itself...unfortunately unlikely as they are ignorant deluded bullies.

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