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‘No Government war on GPs’, claims primary care minister


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The Government is not waging a ‘war on GPs’, amid the row over access to face-to-face appointments, the minister for primary care has said.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on GP access this afternoon, the newly-appointed minister Maria Caulfield thanked GPs for their ‘hard work and dedication’ in going ‘above and beyond’ throughout the pandemic.

She told MPs:  ‘I want to start off by thanking general practice teams and GPs in particular and to emphasise – there is no war on GPs. We are all in this together.’

Responding to comments made by shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Ms Caulfield said it was ‘slightly disappointing’ to hear references to a ‘war’.

Dr Allin-Khan, who is also an A&E clinician, told MPs attending the debate that the Government is ‘purposefully turning communities against each other, risking the health and wellbeing of patients and staff, simply because it is unwilling to put forward a sustainable plan to support GPs to manage their workloads’.

Speaking before Ms Caulfield, she said: ‘Let’s be very clear – GPs are being scapegoated for a failure of this Government to act. 

‘This war against GPs that is being propagated by this Government does nothing to serve patient needs and does nothing to serve GPs – who are exhausted, tired and unable to fulfil their commitments that they have trained hard to do, because of the failure of this Government.’

It is ‘simply not acceptable’ that GPs are being ‘blamed for being unable to fill vacancies as a result of wider workforce and funding issues’, Dr Allin-Khan added.

Ms Caulfield said that the health secretary access package announced earlier this month was designed ‘precisely to support GPs [and] to enable them to be able to support their patients’.

‘We have been listening long and hard to the difficulties that are being faced in primary care and the range of measures are there to help GPs as much as they are to help patients’, she added.

The minister will be holding a ‘cross-party call’ on Thursday for MPs to feed back on GP ‘issues’ in their area, she said.

She added that she hopes these will be held ‘on a regular basis if that’s needed’.

It comes as GPC England has voted to ballot the profession on potential industrial action and called on practices to disengage from the PCN DES in protest against the access plan.

The BMA has also advised practices to immediately start offering consultations of 15 minutes or more; and apply to close their patient list, as part of the fightback against the plan.

The plan, which both the BMA and LMCs have advised GPs not to engage with at all, will see ICSs submit a list of the 20% of practices in their area with the lowest levels of face-to-face appointments by 28 October to face ‘immediate’ action, among other things.

Meanwhile, MPs have requested meetings with GPs to discuss access to practices amid the row over face-to-face appointments.

READERS' COMMENTS [12]

John Glasspool 26 October, 2021 5:56 pm

If it looks like a war, feels like a war, and smells like a war, then it’s a war.

David Church 26 October, 2021 6:13 pm

Is it a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing?

Or is it a case of the new primary care minister being given a misleading brief and not knowing enough about the content of the access plans, or recent GP relations and media problems and not put aside enough time to inform herself before attending this event?

The Government has certainly attacked GPs, so it is a unilateral attack if not actually a war (which requires two sides fighting).

Doc Getmeout 26 October, 2021 6:42 pm

This is a government’s narcissistic attitude to dominate and attack a profession to political distract from its own failings.

Yes To oppress, control. tyrannize, bully, intimidate, dominate us, etc etc

Not on your nelly 26 October, 2021 8:37 pm

‘The Government is not waging a ‘war on GPs’, amid the row over access to face-to-face appointments, the minister for primary care has said.’

Bollocks.

Patrufini Duffy 26 October, 2021 9:45 pm

Honesty, care, science and transparency.

Versus.

Lies, ugly neglect, fiction and colluded corruption.

Some oceans don’t mix anymore. Doctors and politicans, like peacocks and pigeons.

Kevlar Cardie 26 October, 2021 9:46 pm

Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
And with a virtuous vizor hide deep vice!

Martin Williams 26 October, 2021 10:47 pm

Is that the same Maria Caulfield who voted for us all to swim in actual effluent last week?
Seems like a good choice for primary care minister.

Samir Shah 27 October, 2021 10:22 am

Of course, the government started a war….
Tactics- Get rid of the independence of General Practice but integration and dilution.
Combat zone – 20% of practices
Theatre of Ops – England, possibly the home nations
Strategy – Punitive contracts, media, corruption etc

Vinci Ho 27 October, 2021 10:54 am

If this is not war , what is the definition of a war ?
Please , once again , do not insult our intelligence. The propaganda media of the Tory party clearly started the fire .
‘’We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning, since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it’’
Billy Joel

Elizabeth Fong 27 October, 2021 1:20 pm

Strictly speaking flogging a dead horse is not war. Here are some further ways to flog a dead horse
https://www.zdnet.com/article/21-ways-to-flog-dead-horse-projects/

Patrufini Duffy 27 October, 2021 10:48 pm

The Government has a war on truth and even a face mask. That’s how low it is. Keep levelling up the corruption and back handers. This country is heading one way. And the only glue crossing the health and social divide is dissolving, fast. Well done.

Keith Greenish 28 October, 2021 9:01 am

Cue Mandy Rice-Davies reply