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What the general election result means for GPs

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Whether Jeremy Hunt is returned to the health brief is unknown, but what is certain is that David Cameron will be returning to number 10.

For GPs, it means that they have dodged one bullet – the reinstatement of the 48-hour target for a GP appointment promised by Labour, let’s raise a glass to that.

It also means that the NHS is promised the £8bn that its chief executive says it needs to survive the next five years (Labour only promised £2.5bn). And hopefully it will mean goodbye to GPs checking old people’s boilers.

But that is not to say that GPs should be celebrating. They may not have to supply appointments in two days for everyone, but the Tories did promise same-day appointments for the elderly if they need one.

The Prime Minister’s very own seven-day access experiment will continue, despite signs that it may merely stoke further demand rather than alleviate the pressure on A&E.

The Conservatives promised 3,000 less new GPs than Labour, although neither had any credible plans to ensure that they could deliver them in any case.

Further cuts to welfare and social care are likely to prove a massive headache to GP practices already coping with many problems that have very little to do with health.

We are spared another NHS reorganisation by stealth as Labour planned to hand commissioning power to local authorities, but all the architecture of the Health and Social Act (including its competition regulations) will remain.

But let’s face it, any new Government has a massive mess to clear up. The NHS needs much better planning, more GPs and a serious look at the way it is funded.

The NHS has been the weak spot for the Conservatives this election. They have struggled to defend their record in power, leading to some lurid headlines – particularly about the crisis in GP practices - leading right up until polling day.

Even the resolutely Tory-supporting Daily Mail ran a front page the day before the election on a Pulse survey showing that GP waiting times are set to rise due to the pressures on the service.

And so fixing this is likely to be the question in David Cameron’s mind as he sits down to form his new Government, with GPs right at the forefront of his thinking. This could be a good opportunity for the profession, but I have been in this job too long to make any predictions on whether he will reach for the right answers (his instinct so far has been appalling).

And being in the political spotlight is not always a comfortable place to be - hold on for a bumpy ride.

Nigel Praities is editor of Pulse

 

,

Whether Jeremy Hunt is returned to the health brief is unknown, but what is certain is that David Cameron will be returning to number 10.

For GPs, it means that they have dodged one bullet – the reinstatement of the 48-hour target for a GP appointment promised by Labour, let’s raise a glass to that.

It also means that the NHS is promised the £8bn that its chief executive says it needs to survive the next five years (Labour only promised £2.5bn). And hopefully it will mean goodbye to GPs checking old people’s boilers.

But that is not to say that GPs should be celebrating. They may not have to supply appointments in two days for everyone, but the Tories did promise same-day appointments for the elderly if they need one.

The Prime Minister’s very own seven-day access experiment will continue, despite signs that it may merely stoke further demand rather than alleviate the pressure on A&E.

The Conservatives promised 3,000 less new GPs than Labour, although neither had any credible plans to ensure that they could deliver them in any case.

Further cuts to welfare and social care are likely to prove a massive headache to GP practices already coping with many problems that have very little to do with health.

We are spared another NHS reorganisation by stealth as Labour planned to hand commissioning power to local authorities, but all the architecture of the Health and Social Act (including its competition regulations) will remain.

But let’s face it, any new Government has a massive mess to clear up. The NHS needs much better planning, more GPs and a serious look at the way it is funded.

The NHS has been the weak spot for the Conservatives this election. They have struggled to defend their record in power, leading to some lurid headlines – particularly about the crisis in GP practices - leading right up until polling day.

Even the resolutely Tory-supporting Daily Mail ran a front page the day before the election on a Pulse survey showing that GP waiting times are set to rise due to the pressures on the service.

And so fixing this is likely to be the question in David Cameron’s mind as he sits down to form his new Government, with GPs right at the forefront of his thinking. This could be a good opportunity for the profession, but I have been in this job too long to make any predictions on whether he will reach for the right answers (his instinct so far has been appalling).

And being in the political spotlight is not always a comfortable place to be - hold on for a bumpy ride.

Nigel Praities is editor of Pulse

 

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Readers' comments (18)

  • The problem is that GPs are the ones who are going to get blamed for political decisions they are not responsible for.

    Demand is going to rise and recruitment/retention is likely to get worse as no carrots are being offered just bigger and bigger sticks. Our leadership has no answers so we are back to square one - GPs making individual decisions which involves an exit from the NHS.

    I don't think the government is bothered by this as it's a win:win for them. Either we work as slaves to the state or we leave to the private sector (and get the blame for bringing down the NHS). It is hobson's choice here.

    What I don't understand is why don't we go the way of our dental colleagues and have mixed private / NHS service? It will control demand and still provide clinical services to low income patients.

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  • As long as you're alright eh. That's all that matters.

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  • i'm scared

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  • Anonymous | 08 May 2015 11:09am

    er .. yes - isn't that what the electorate have voted for?

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  • What a relief!
    The thought that Andy Burnham would be the next Health Secretary had given me recurring nightmares.

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  • woop woop

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  • I am sad that a 7 day a week ploy is a cunning way to destabilize smaller practices, as large polyclinics gobble up hungry needy and not sick patients with Tesco like care and 30 salaried doctors. Funding given to them, no real improvement in care or necessity and smaller practices lose their populations.
    Shame, real shame.

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  • Time to get the crash helmet ready and to recite the mantra..."NO...I will not be your slave".

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  • Another 5 yrs of jeremy hunt - where's my passport?
    Does anyone really believe he and the rest of the tories give a **** about GP's ? All we can look forward to is more GP bashing , publishing individual income to make us look like fatcats , longer opening hours for no extra remineration and a progressively smaller number of exhausted demoralised doctors.
    I think i will get out my passport and move to Scotland!

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  • Having read the 5 year plan and noted the words "GP block" we all need to be ready to leave/change. No amount of shouting "look how valuable we are" is going to work. We have been declared the "dinosaurs" of an HNS that is truly past its sell-by date. We need to embrace the American idea of the "managed hospital units" or we will fade away...........

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