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GP practice sends ‘election special’ newsletter

A GP surgery has released an ‘election special’ newsletter urging patients to think carefully about who they vote for in the general election.

Great Bentley Surgery in Colchester wrote a special edition of its newsletter to its 8,500 patients, outlining challenges faced by GPs ahead of May’s general election. The newsletter has been shared online over 2,000 times and will be published in the local parish magazines.

The letter reads: ‘The election is looming and I’m sure none of you have failed to notice, the NHS is having its budget slashed and as a result, services are suffering. General Practice is struggling with an ever increasing burden of workload but the funding to play for this is going down. Unfortunately the politicians (all of them!) have been using the NHS as a political ‘football’ with very short sighted and vote grabbing policies, ideas and changes. This election is no different to please think very carefully who you support if you value your NHS.’

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Dr Freda Bhatti, a partner at the surgery, said: ‘We just wanted people to know before they voted about the issues for the NHS and what really was happening. We’re not blaming anybody apart from obviously the policies and the politics. It’s not patients’ fault and it’s not doctors and nurses’ fault, but this is the situation we find ourselves in.

‘I think as we’re about to become a voting public, we need to recognise what’s going on, and really think about how best to vote for the sake of the NHS.’

The newsletter details the crisis in recruitment, capacity and funding, warning patients: ‘Headline-grabbing sound bites like seven-day opening and appointments being guaranteed within 48 hours sound good, but are unworkable unless significant investment in general practice is made.’