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At the heart of general practice since 1960

To our MPs: Tell Jeremy Hunt we are facing an unprecedented crisis

77 East Yorkshire GPs ask their MPs to speak to Jeremy Hunt when he visits their area

Dear Sir Greg Knight and Mr Graham Stuart,

When you welcome the Secretary of State for Health on Friday, we would be very grateful if you could impress on him the fact that he is coming to an area whose GPs are facing an unprecedented crisis which, if not resolved quickly, has the potential to destabilise the entire NHS and leave large sections of our population without a family doctor.

We believe that we have been caught in a perfect storm of rising demand, caused by population change, advances in medicine, and the moving of care out of hospitals. This has happened at the same time as a funding squeeze, with primary care’s slice of total NHS funding being reduced from 10.4% to 7.4%.

GPs have tried to protect their patients from the impact of these cuts, and as a result have seen a rise in workload along with a real-terms pay decrease of 25% since 2006, but this cannot continue any longer. The serious financial uncertainty is preventing investment in practices and dissuading young doctors from becoming GPs, as well as causing those who can retire or go overseas to do so. This places increasing burdens on the remaining GPs, 93% of whom report that heavy workload undermines the quality of care that they can give.

GPs love our work, but many of us hate our jobs, which have been made impossible to do well

Over recent years there has been a huge rise in regulations and paperwork, with the demands of the CQC, the revalidation process, repeated reorganisations, and the nonsense of competitive tendering for services all taking us away from our patients. Where investment has been forthcoming, it is often so complex to obtain or short-lived that the final benefits are negligible, or confined to a few practices.

Although these issues are national, East Yorkshire’s geography makes us particularly sensitive to these difficulties, with services in Bridlington being particularly vulnerable. We are all facing huge problems recruiting new GPs with many practices having unfilled vacancies, and over half the places on the local GP training scheme remain unfilled.

We have a simple message for politicians and patients. GPs love our work, but many of us hate our jobs, which have been made impossible to do well. We hate being rushed, we hate not having enough time for those patients who need us, we hate worrying about making mistakes, and we hate not being able to afford the staff or premises we need to provide great care. If you are serious about addressing the crisis in general practice and encouraging more young doctors to choose to be GPs you need to act now, before it is too late. Please cut our paperwork, invest properly in general practice, address unsafe workload pressures, and prioritise high quality urgent out-of-hours GP care rather than wasting resources on routine Sunday services which studies have shown are not wanted.

Above all, please listen to GPs when we say that general practices are the foundations on which the rest of the NHS is built, but without proper support, protection, and investment we will not be able to provide the care that your constituents deserve.

Yours Sincerely (random order)

Dr Mike Hardman

Dr Paul Longden

Dr Guy Clayton

Dr Tanya Web

Dr Janette Robson

Dr Allen Stephen

Dr Clive Henderson

Dr Daniel Thompson

Dr Helen Heaton

Dr Priya Reddy

Dr Jessica Airey

Dr Andrew Green

Dr Sree Reddy

Dr Louise Cooke

Dr Alan Francis

Dr Jaap Vermeijden

Dr Suzanne Partridge

Dr Sivarajan Krishnarjav

Dr Zoe Norris

D Susie Foster

Dr Louise Brotherton

Dr Jane Taylor

Dr Paul Davis

Dr Michel Morgan

Dr Richard Taylor

Dr Roger Doonan

Dr Susan Murphy

Dr Julian Clark

Dr Stephen Pedder-Smith

Dr Graham Heaton

Dr Chris Chant

Dr Paul Harris

Dr Margaret Ikpoh

Dr Sam Koshy

Dr Helen Rhodes

Dr Stephanie Mason

Dr Gareth Williams

Dr Joanne Walters

Dr Nigel Pickering

Dr Ian Sibley-Calder

Dr Patrick Naughton-Doe

Dr Richard Kurtis

Dr Anne Jeffreys

Dr Laurent Bare

Dr Anjani Kallay

Dr Harminder Suri

Dr Philip George

Dr Mark Hancocks

Dr Martin Russell

Dr Naila Loqueman

Dr James Cooling

Dr Lorna Eele

Dr Robert Mitchell

Dr Joanne Myers

Dr Mary Sowerby

Dr Tami Byass

Dr Noel Tinker

Dr Ian Bell

Dr Jonathon Martin

Dr Stephen Hickey

Dr Philip Mixer

Dr Robert Blackbourn

Dr Dafydd Williams

Dr Ric Harrison

Dr Jane Stephenson

Dr Andrew Brews

Dr Christopher Buswell

Dr Anthony Clarke

Dr Victoria Thompson

Dr Sara Saunders

Dr David Turpin

Dr Ruth Driver

Dr Nicole Nunn

Dr Gina Palumbo

Dr Cornelio Vincini

Dr Paul Phillips

Dr Michael Roberts

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Azeem Majeed

    It's a good letter. I made some similar points in a recent article.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17571472.2015.1082343

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  • ditto Cumbria

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  • Ditto Leicester

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  • Vinci Ho

    More than interested in how they would respond to this letter and then.........

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  • like most GP organised actions there is no 'or else'. it will be read and ignored and you will be told you have to cope.

    how about changing the song and have contingency plans?

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  • I feel bit better having read this great letter. Nonetheless this governent wont listen. We must also "do" something. Public aching for the BIG debate re. future of NHS & social care. NHS Survival has right approach I feel and GPs can provide the key role in starting the debate in communities. If you have time please visit www.familydoctorSOS.co.uk ...and add your surgery to our map of "distress." Onwards & Upwards. Paul

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