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DHSC doesn’t recognise plans for GPs to be forced to work in deprived areas


deprived area GPs


The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has distanced itself from reports claiming that GPs will be forced to work in deprived areas to tackle inequalities.

The Times today reported that GPs are ‘set to be barred from jobs in richer areas’ and forced to work in deprived areas instead.

It said the plans, put forward by a think tank, are being ‘considered by the Government’ after the health secretary pledged to tackle the ‘disease of disparity’ in September.

But a spokesperson for the DHSC told Pulse on background that the claims are not something they recognise and that the plans are not understood to be happening.

They stressed that the newspaper report is speculation but said they would not issue a formal statement or request a correction from the Times.

In a report published today, think tank the Social Market Foundation called for an amendment to the Health and Care Bill to establish an ‘Office for Equitable Distribution of GPs in England’, amid ‘widening health inequalities’.

It said ‘fair access’ for patients means ‘not letting GPs work where there are already more than enough GPs, and not letting GPs leave areas where there are not enough GPs, without having them replaced’.

It added: ‘Where GPs work should no longer be left entirely to market forces, as has happened for the past 20 years. But nor should GPs be told where they should work. They never have been, and any attempt to do so would be strongly opposed. 

‘Financial incentives might be useful, though, to encourage new GPs to work in under-doctored areas.’

The paper did not address the overall ‘shortage of GPs and how to overcome [it]’.

It comes as a new PCN service specification tackling health inequalities started last month in a ‘reduced’ form, alongside another focussed on CVD diagnosis and prevention.

In September, NHS England set out that ‘expanding primary care capacity to improve access, local health outcomes and address health inequalities’ is one of six key priorities for the second half of the year. 

Meanwhile, the new Office for Health and Improvement and Disparities (OHID) last month took over Public Health England’s (PHE) work on health inequalities in the UK.

READERS' COMMENTS [8]

Chris GP 8 November, 2021 1:51 pm

…the whole of primary care is a deprived area……

Kevlar Cardie 8 November, 2021 3:22 pm

“Free markets”, but only when it suits the kleptocracy and they can trouser a few million quid in the process.

Malcolm Kendrick 8 November, 2021 3:59 pm

I think that think tanks should be forced to shut up.

Paul Attwood 8 November, 2021 6:01 pm

“and not letting GPs leave areas where there are not enough GPs, without having them replaced” And how would this wondrous feat be proposed? Nail them to the office floor?

There is a whole world out there that would welcome fully trained GPs with much better terms and conditions of work and better money.

Social Market Foundation = Ministry of Silly Sods.

terry sullivan 8 November, 2021 6:43 pm

what does dhsc actually do?

we have nhse and phe and nhs providers and ccg and nice and others?–surely there must be massive duplication

Simon Gilbert 8 November, 2021 8:08 pm

It is a short mental hop for someone who believes in the ability of the technocrat to move to authoritarian communism.

Stuart Baldwin 9 November, 2021 8:31 am

Amazing how they keep bringing back old ideas – the Medical Practices Committee used to divide the country into Open and Closed areas. Extra doctors were only allowed to start work in Open areas but my practice was able to recruit me as an extra doctor to work in an affluent part of the Open area whilst the local practices covering the local pockets of deprivation struggled to recruit in the 1980s. Not sure they will get an equitable solution

Julian Spinks 9 November, 2021 12:24 pm

The left hand of DHSC is often unaware of the plans clutched in the right hand….. I suspect this is yet another example of throwing suggestions at the media to see which are popular. Later they are introduced as ‘receiving a lot of support’ (from the Daily Wail)