An MP appointed as a health minister has vowed to make sure GP practices ‘take responsibility’ for having appropriate staffing for patient demand as ‘they get the money to do so’.
The Conservative MP for Thurrock, Jackie Doyle-Price, who has been made parliamentary under-secretary of state for health under health secretary Jeremy Hunt, says on her constituency website that GP shortages are in part down to GPs ‘not delivering enough’.
Though her brief has not been confirmed, there is a vacancy in the Department of Health to replace previous primary care minister, David Mowat, who lost his seat in the snap election.
Her constituency campaign page identifies that the local Basildon Hospital is improving and says ‘now lets [sic] improve our GPs’, adding that the loss of practices and continuity of care for patients heaps burdens on hospitals.
It says: ‘Here in Thurrock we have a shortage of GPs – partly because we aren’t doing enough to attract them, and partly because GP practices aren’t delivering enough to meet local demand.
‘This Government has introduced inspection of GP practices and we will be making sure that when they take responsibility for more patients they make sure they have the staff in the practice to meet demand.
‘They get the money to do so. They must invest in their practices so that patients can see their GP when they need to.’
Ms Doyle-Price has been appointed alongside Steve Brine, who is the MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford. Mr Brine bills himself as a ‘passionate defender’ of primary care and general practice.
His health campaign page highlights that access problems in primary care are being driven by the ‘consumerisation of healthcare’ and the growing problems of housing developments potentially swamping services.
It states: ‘As a responsible MP who puts the NHS first in his constituency I always want to listen to local GPs and work alongside them, as well as their patients to ensure we have services in the right place at the right time.
‘As more and more houses are built that also means working closely with NHS England on GP access and maintaining important, yet small, in-community provision such as we have in South Wonston and Twyford.’
Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow retains his role as Mr Hunt’s deputy and Lord O’Shaughnessy holds his seat as the DH represetnative in the House of Lords.
In a speech before the election, the soon-to-be chair of BMA Council Dr Chaand Nagpaul said politicians must ‘end the callous disregard‘ for the plight of general practice.