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Social care reforms ‘can’t be done’ without GPs, says health secretary

The upcoming social care reforms would not be possible without GPs, the health secretary has said.

His comments came alongside an announcement of a £240m winter fund for social care ‘to support our NHS’. 

In his keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Matt Hancock reaffirmed the need for ‘long overdue’ social care reforms, promising the release of the long-awaited green paper later this year.

But Mr Hancock said in his speech today that the reforms laid out in the paper cannot be done without GPs.

He said: ‘And of course, we can’t do any of these reforms without our GPs. Our GPs are the bedrock of the NHS. They’re everyone’s first port of call.

‘We need more of them, better supported, and better equipped. Prevention of ill health is nothing without primary care. So we back our nation’s GPs every step of the way.’

Last month, NHS England announced that hospitals have received £145m to help them cope with an increase in demand through winter, with GP leaders asking for ‘similar support’ for GPs.

Responding to Mr Hancock’s speech, Dr Richard Vautrey welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement of ‘the enormous contribution GPs make to the NHS’.

He added: ‘However, it is a challenging time for GPs and their practice teams. The profession faces a workforce crisis, unmanageable workloads, spiralling indemnity costs and continuous issues with premises – and the secretary of state must now turn his clear verbal commitment into action so that the much-lauded long-term NHS plan really backs GPs and their patients.’

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