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A faulty production line

RCGP: GPs are feeling 'let down' by NHS support package

The RCGP has said that the GP Forward View is failing to have a 'positive impact' on GPs at the frontline in its annual assessment, having originally given the support package its unwavering support.

Its main criticism was around NHS England's promise to add 5,000 GPs to the workforce by 2020, and it said these plans needed an 'urgent rethink'.

The College did find that NHS England was on track to deliver promised increases in funding to general practice, worth £2.4bn extra a year by 2021.

But College chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard concluded that, overall, GPs are feeling 'let down' by the support package.

On its release in April 2016, previous RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker called it the ‘most significant news for general practice since the 1960s’, and later stated it should be ‘everyone’s top priority’.

Professor Stokes-Lampard said today that the College still ‘stands by the GP Forward View’, and considers it a ‘lifeline’ for the profession.

But the report calls for a ‘re-think’ of the workforce pledges laid out in the document ‘in order to turn things around’, as the number of GPs has gone down since September last year.

Latest official figures show that the number of GPs has decreased by 542 since NHS England released its GP Forward View,

The College's most recent survey, carried out in February 2017, found that half of RCGP members said it is ‘unlikely’ that NHS England’s plans for general practice will make a positive difference.

The report said: ‘This is a significant increase from the 39% who believed this in August 2016, only a few months after the launch.’

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said GPs were 'desparate' and the 'pressures they are under are unbearable'.

Professor Stokes-Lampard added:  'Our members were promised impactful change by now, but unfortunately many are telling us that the difference they are seeing on the ground is not enough and they are feeling let down.

'We are certainly not suggesting that NHS England, Health Education England and others have been resting on their laurels – we know they are committed to making things better in general practice.

'But it is clear that there is a lot more to do, specifically around building our workforce.'

The other key concerns relate to rising indemnity costs, which the RCGP urges the Government to implement a long-term solution ‘as a matter of urgency’.

But the report praises NHS England for investing £17.2m into the practice resilience programme, which was more than promised in the first year of the plan.

The report also notes the positive feedback that has been received from the NHS GP health service, which was launched in January and had seen 500 GPs in the first three months.

This report follows an interim report released in January in which the RCGP 'red-rated' several aspects of NHS England's document.

What is the GP Forward View?

NHS England released the GP Forward View in April last year.It promised a range of measures to help general practice.

Increased funding

It promised to invest an additional £2.4bn a year by 2020/21 into general practice - a 14% increase.

Scrapping the QOF

NHS England committed to scrapping the QOF - but, as Pulse reported today, the BMA is now pushing against this.

Cutting red tape

Including moving to five-yearly CQC inspections

Mental health support for GPs

Setting up a counselling service for GPs - which it has done.

Stopping hospital bullying

It called on hospitals to stop sending patients back to GPs when they failed to attend an appointment - however, it has failed on this so far.

Boosting GP numbers

It targeted 5,000 new GPs in the workforce by 2020

New practice staff

The package vowed to introduce 5,000 new non-GP staff, including pharmacists and physician associates, into the workforce by 2020.

Supporting vulnerable practice

A funding package worth £16m a year was announced, to help practices stay afloat.

Click here to see how has it been doing





Readers' comments (6)

  • Its about new GPs,there is nothing about retaining the existing GPs you can't fill a bath if the plug is not in RCGP minions.

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  • For a professor of general practice she has the communication skills of a politician
    Time to get out of the library and meet some people,
    nobody cares if GP's are under pressure,whether they can cope' or have breakdowns.
    The bottom line is the NHS is no longer safe,you may not get an appointment,there will not be enough time.
    Keep it simple and comprehensible,never quote statistics,and make it relevant to the audience which in this case is not fellow academics

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  • this is unbelievable and probably unprecedented, but it would appear that RCGP got this one right. certainly sense of listening to grass-roots as opposed to autistic mantra of previous leadership ("never been better time" etc)

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  • It's all part of the plan. The underlying idea is that we, being fantastically overpaid, should pay for any improvements in our working lives, employing paramedics or pharmacists etc, whilst the money (that isn't double counted, in existing budgets etc) is for "change managers" and meetings for NHSE and NHSI apparatchiks to make sure HMG is getting "value for money." Anything else, for example the concept of less work and responsibility for the same or even a bit more money, was just wishful thinking. Why are we surprised? It's like all these thousands of new mental health workers announced today when out local Partnership Trust is looking for another £7m "efficiency savings" this year. Mind you they are useless, but more contracts always seem to go their way rather than to e.g. our provider group. Why? Because, otherwise, some money might end up in GPs' pockets!

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  • Too many consultants taking a cut, too much frittered away by NHSE and CCGs on pet organisations and useless projects (I'm looking at you, social prescribing and active signposting).
    No real investment in actual general practice, no change to the terms and conditions on the front line.
    This has been an abject failure and needs a complete re-think.
    But thanks to Maureen and HSL the RCGP is too reputationally bound up in it to admit it and insist something is done about it.

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  • "There has been a lot of good work going on and it’s great to hear that additional funding for our service is on track. We are certainly not suggesting that NHS England, Health Education England and others have been resting on their laurels – we know they are committed to making things better in general practice."

    OMG they must be quaking with fear at caustic comments like that Helen. jolly well done, jolly jolly well done.

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