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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Mr Cameron, the NHS is not safe in your hands

Dr Naomi Beer explains ’some hard truths’ to the Prime Minister 

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am writing to you as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, because under your watch we are seeing the destruction of what many regard as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the NHS.

You may not have been aware, but whilst you were away in Europe, another conference took place. GPs from across the UK came together to declare a ‘state of emergency’ in primary care and debate what could be done to help the growing number of struggling practices.

GPs are being crushed by workload and punished by soaring indemnity and meaningless inspection regimens. We have a workload and a workforce state of emergency. Access to health care to people in this country is at risk and close to collapse.

The conference last week was our vote of ‘no confidence’ in you and your Government.

And the situation is being made worse by irresponsible rhetoric from your ministers.

The whole health service is at risk as you push for a ‘seven-day service’ without the required 40% increase in financial or workforce resource. This is what the junior doctors are trying to tell you. That is why they are protesting on the streets at your new unsafe contract. This is not about politics, but about people. About your Government’s will to maintain primary care and a universal healthcare service.

The conference last week was our vote of ‘no confidence’ in you and your Government.

Here is our evidence; you make the sick, the poor and the young pay for this country’s debt, you won’t raise taxes to fund a service that is universally recognised as one of the most efficient, effective and fair in the world, you won’t keep the NHS out of TTIP, you systematically strangle resources to the NHS and primary care in particular, you let excellent practices and services go to the wall whilst letting private companies who can’t make money out of their NHS contracts walk away from them without redress. You misrepresent evidence to suit your ideologies and treat NHS staff with contempt, undermine them, blame them, starve them, beat them but occasionally turn and promise them ‘something nice if you behave’. In any other profession this would be called institutionalised abuse. You and your Government have abused GPs and abused our NHS.

And you appear blind and deaf to what is now happening around you. As Dr Chaand Nagpaul thundered from the LMC conference platform, ‘It’s not safe!’ You are wasting fine doctors and nurses who are burned out, shattered, sick and exiting. It’s not safe for anyone - GPs and patients. This is why GPs will, if it comes to it, tender mass resignation.

Both the fault and the remedy is at your door. Money is needed but money alone will not get them back. Prime Minister, confidence is the precious resource you need to regain.

Come to my practice and speak to my patients and I will show you how. But I urge you to be open to hearing some hard truths, because the health service is not currently safe in your hands and your legacy could be the start of its destruction.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Naomi Beer

GP in Tower Hamlets 

Support Naomi

If you would like to co-sign this letter with Dr Beer, then please place your name and where you practise in the comments box below. All names will be included with the letter when it is sent to 10 Downing Street later this month. 

 

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Readers' comments (197)

  • Dr Alice Emerson
    Southsea, Hants

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  • Dr Mary Edmondson Retired GP East London

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  • My three partners and I have recently handed back our contract- despite an outstanding CQC rating, following our PMS review- which will have a not inconsiderable effect on our patients and
    local GP services (see Pulse articles passim- love us or hate us!)
    It has been enlightening to see the reaction from various agencies. The CCG have no power to do anything, NHS England seem genuinely not to care -you might have thought the area Chief Executive might have at least spoken to us given he was losing a 'flagship' practice but no - clearly he's too important.
    Our local MP -Conservative- has been by far our best ally -and has stuck his head above the parapet to support us and enlisted the support of the Minister responsible for General Practice who has been equally helpful.
    The main problem clearly lies right at the top -the political will is clearly pushing towards 'super practices' which would obviously be ripe for being taken over by private providers and big enough to make shareholders a profit-why else would an American with experience in insurance based primary care be brought in as a Government advisor?
    When was the last time anyone heard Jeremy Hunt (wearing his NHS badge at all times) say anything positive about the NHS ?(even young Mr Grace knew you should occasionally tell your staff they are all doing very well) He is clearly the hitman working for Dave and co -who have no effective opposition,are independently wealthy and probably going to retire from politics after the next election. That is the real problem for GPs and the NHS - how do you fight something or someone that doesn't really give a monkey's?

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  • Thank you Naomi for your excellent letter. I sign as a junior doctor and future GP.

    Natalie Hartley, GP Registrar, Swindon
    (GMC: 7082848)

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  • Dr Victoria Bowler
    Eastville Medical Practice, Bristol

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  • Well said Naomi!

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  • Health service reform? More like putting the clock back 70 years. Spot on Naomi.

    John Puntis, Paediatrician, Leeds

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  • Arrogance is the norm with this Elitist bunch of cabinet and the Prime Minsiter, who are compleltely out of touch with the reality in almsot every aspect of life in the country and destroying the morale of hard working professionals in the NHS, which is going to have detrimental effect to the the services in general.

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  • Proud to have strong and resilient GPs giving voice to their concerns and fighting for the future of the profession

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  • Well said & well done Naomi.

    You are just hitting the right nail on the head.

    Andrew A K Myint
    Sessional GP, Newham, London.

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