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GP Forward View needs extra £2.5bn in ‘urgent overhaul’, says RCGP

The RCGP has called for an ‘urgent overhaul’ of the GP Forward View, including a further £2.5bn investment in general practice each year to maintain patient safety.

In its second annual assessment of the GP Forward View, the RCGP concluded that extra funding was needed to provide ‘a safety net’ for GPs to implement other aspects of the GP Forward View, such as technology or hiring other practice team members.

It said that the extra funding, on top of the £12bn already pledged by 2020/21, would bring the total investment in general practice up to £14.5bn – 11% of the NHS budget.

It added that the call for more investment also comes after Prime Minister Theresa May announced an extra £20.5bn for the NHS in June.

The report said: ‘With the total spend on the NHS increasing, there is a risk that the share of health spend going into general practice will go into reverse, unless more money is invested.’

The report also highlighted the significant shortfall of GPs, saying the ‘once-ambitious task’ of recruiting 5,000 GPs by 2020 ‘now seems Herculean’.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted that hitting the 5,000 GP target ‘has been harder than we thought’ after the latest figures from NHS Digital revealed that 1,000 FTE GPs have left general practice since the workforce target was set.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said it was ‘not turning our back on the GP Forward View’, after having badged the document on its release in April 2016.

But she said: ‘It needs an urgent overhaul to address the pledges that are not progressing fast enough, particularly around retaining our existing workforce and reducing our workload.’

She added that only with the extra funding ‘will we be able to continue to guarantee the safe care our patients need’.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘GPs play a vital role, which is why the NHS is on track to increase primary care spending by an extra £2.4bn by 2020.

‘Rather than individual lobbying groups plucking implausible figures from the air, the NHS is now carefully developing a long term plan for affordable and phased improvements over the coming decade.’