The Family Doctor Association intends to survey its members for evidence on the impact of NHS England’s policy for the future of small GP practices.
The FDA said it was ‘shocked and saddened’ by comments made by NHS England primary care director Dr Arvind Madan, suggesting GPs should be ‘pleased’ when small practices close, as there are ‘too many’ of them struggling to meet patient demand.
Dr Madan has since apologised to practices which felt unsupported by the comments, but said NHS England wants them to come together to work in primary care networks in order to be able to provide a wider range of services.
But in a letter to Dr Madan, the FDA said: ‘As the sole medical organisation representing family doctors, we write on behalf of our GP members, their primary care teams and patients, to raise concerns about your recent comments in Pulse magazine. The tone of these comments from a respected senior colleague shocks and saddens us.
‘Our members have asked that you publicly share the evidence underpinning these comments. We cannot overstate the negative impact of such comments on family doctors facing increasing patient workload, the effects of patient displacement from accelerating practice closures, falling morale and now, increasing concerns about the jobs of all those working in family doctor practices in England.’
As the ‘next steps’, FDA chair Dr Peter Swinyard has requested a meeting with Dr Madan ‘at the earliest opportunity, to gain clarification on these comments’.
The FDA said it would also ‘survey its members for evidence on the impact of NHS England’s “at scale” policy’.