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Pandemic led to ‘additional and unrealistic expectations’ of general practice, say GP leaders


Pandemic led to ‘additional and unrealistic expectations’ of general practice, say GP leaders


The public has ‘additional and unrealistic expectations’ of general practice as it emerges from the Covid pandemic, LMC leaders said today.

LMC representatives attending the conference in York today overwhelmingly passed a motion that called for an ‘education campaign’ encouraging patient self-care and appropriate use of pharmacy, optometry and dental services.

It added that the ‘continued political and media pressure for general practice to meet demand over need in a chronically underfunded health service is unacceptable’.

Proposing the motion, Dr Mairi Barr from Ayrshire and Arran LMC said that GPs ‘cannot be everything to everyone’ although they are facing ‘relentless daily demands on our time and our resources’. 

She said: ‘Demand – whether appropriate or not – has entirely outstripped resource. This demand has grown exponentially but general practice is not growing at the same pace, if at all.

‘GPs are a finite resource and we are running out faster than coal – but let’s be clear, this motion is not in any way to lay the blame at the doors of our patients. In fact, this motion is about the failings of our Government to support general practice and their collusion in fanning the flames of negative media rhetoric.’

She added: ‘The human cost of the general practice crisis compounded by the pandemic is palpable. GP practice staff face a tidal wave of abuse on a daily basis, there has been a loss of confidence, a sense of failure, a loss of self-worth, anxiety, exhaustion and depression.’

Speaking in favour, Dr Ben Curtis of Cambridgeshire LMC suggested ‘loosening the rules’ on what medicines can be purchased over-the-counter, as well as ‘empowering’ community pharmacists, optometrists and dentists to ‘prescribe, refer and follow up’ without GP ‘handholding’.

But speaking against, Dr Peter Williams of Derby and Derbyshire LMC described the motion as ‘well-worded’ but ‘at best a sticking plaster’.

He said: ‘If we were funded properly, all of these items in this list are not necessary. We have repeatedly passed motions like this over the years that I’ve been coming to conference and some of those things have come to pass and some haven’t.

‘But fundamentally, they haven’t changed the patient demand, no matter what we have asked for. The underlying issue is the funding – that’s what we need to get fixed.’

Earlier, delegates voted in favour of the BMA GP Committee ‘renegotiat[ing] the GMS contracts with workload limits in order to protect all general practice staff and patients’.

However, they voted against changing core working hours to 9am to 5pm.

Motion in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN: That conference has observed that the public are emerging from the pandemic with additional and unrealistic expectations of general practice, and: 

(i) believes that the continued political and media pressure for general practice to meet demand over need in a chronically underfunded health service is unacceptable 

(ii) believes that more support is needed for patients to make informed choices for their personalised care that avoids duplication, is truly necessary and free from harm, and prevents or reduces medical intervention 

(iii) believes that requesting written evidence of support from a GP for non-medical issues is inappropriate 

(iv) demands an education campaign for patients to encourage the use of self-care 

(v) demands an education campaign for patients to appropriately utilise pharmacy, optometry and dental services. 

Source: BMA

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READERS' COMMENTS [1]

Kevlar Cardie 11 May, 2022 2:40 pm

Do bears ?