Leaving the EU without a deal will be ‘hugely damaging’ to patient care and exacerbate GP shortages, the RCGP has warned in its manifesto for general practice and patient care.
The RCGP has also called on all political parties to commit to investing 11% of the NHS budget in frontline general practice, which currently receives less than 10% of NHS funding.
Ahead of the general election, which will be held on 12 December, the college expressed concerns over the UK’s ability to recruit and retain EU staff in the NHS should healthcare qualifications not be reciprocated in a no-deal Brexit.
The manifesto also calls for:
- 5,000 additional GPs in England to tackle the urgent GP workforce crisis, as well as pledge to expand members of the wider practice team
- Upgraded and purpose-built GP premises, including high-speed broadband for every GP surgery in the UK, so that patients are seen in modern fit-for-purpose surgeries
- 5,000 more GP training places per year in England and enhanced GP training to reflect the challenges and complexities of modern general practice; and
- Greater support for GP teams so they can continue to provide high-quality patient care.
Professor Stokes Lampard said: ‘The pressures on general practice are unprecedented. Our patients’ needs are becoming more complex and the traditional 10-minute consultation is no longer fit for purpose.
‘We need more time with our patients but we are already going above and beyond to try and keep pace with demand, often to the detriment of our own health and wellbeing. We simply don’t have enough GPs and practice staff to cope and patients are having to wait longer and longer for an appointment.’
She added: ’Investment in general practice is investment in the entire NHS. The college is politically neutral but we care deeply about what matters to our patients and to our profession.
‘The next Government – whatever its political allegiance – must give GPs and our teams the support we need to do our jobs properly so that we can continue to provide safe and high-quality care to our patients, well into the future.
‘Any political party that ignores general practice does so at the peril of our patients and the NHS.’