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BMA warns against boosting GP funding at the expense of hospitals

BMA warns against boosting GP funding at the expense of hospitals

The BMA’s GP Committee has warned the health secretary that boosting general practice funding must not come at the expense of hospitals.

Responding to Wes Streeting’s commitment yesterday to ‘reverse’ the underfunding of general practice, the BMA’s GP Committee England said this will be ‘transformative for patient care’ and a ‘great reassurance’ to ‘overworked’ GPs.

But GPCE deputy chair Dr David Wrigley highlighted the financial pressure hospitals are under, arguing that they ‘need funding just as desperately as general practice does’.

During his first official visit in the role – to a London GP practice – the health secretary said it is ‘no surprise’ that patients struggle to access their practice, since ‘GPs and primary care has been receiving a smaller proportion of NHS resources’.

Mr Streeting announced that he is ‘committed to reversing that’, which was welcomed by the RCGP and Doctors’ Association UK.

However, the health secretary did not state the value or mechanism for any uplift to general practice funding, and GP leaders highlighted that this detail will be ‘crucial’.

Dr Wrigley said the GPCE ‘applauds’ Mr Streeting’s goal to ‘shift more NHS care into the community’ and away from hospitals, but warned against reducing the secondary care share of funding.

He continued: ‘Hospitals are under extreme financial pressure, with many being left with no option but to implement recruitment freezes despite record waiting lists.

‘Diverting money away from them isn’t solving the overall problem – the NHS as a whole needs to be properly resourced.

‘Just 6% of the overall budget is guaranteed for general practice, and we want to understand how Mr Streeting plans to boost that without cutting hospital funding.’

The BMA’s GP Committee said it looks forward to working with the health secretary to ‘map out’ how a GP funding uplift could be ‘done most effectively’.

Dr Wrigley also suggested that bringing Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding into the core contract could be a ‘more immediate’ solution to support general practice.

On Monday, the GPCE urged the Government to ‘stop disinvestment’ in general practice and increase its proportion of NHS funding by 1% year on year, in order to move towards 15% ‘incrementally’.

When in his shadow health secretary role, Mr Streeting had indicated that a Labour Government would give general practice a larger percentage of NHS funding ‘over time’.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

L-J Evans 9 July, 2024 6:07 pm

Surely the only way Primary Care is going to get an uplift in the short to medium term is by taking the money from Secondary Care? I thought GPCE policy was to increase our share up to 11% of total NHS budget?
GPCE are meant to represent us as GPs, the other Branches of Practice can put their own cases forward – disappointed, by this.

ian owen 9 July, 2024 6:39 pm

100%. There isn’t a money tree. Where did they think it was coming from? Currently it’s either/or. With primary care likely to save money, which secondary never will

Lochend Lad 9 July, 2024 7:25 pm

If that is the approach the GPCE is adopting, NHS General Practice is doomed.

Lochend Lad 9 July, 2024 7:29 pm

I doubt the Consultants or Junior Doctors Committees would be so magnanimous..

A B 9 July, 2024 8:00 pm

There in lies the entire problem. A power imbalance ironically explicitly stated here by the BMA. Wes Streeting faces a near impossible task I fear.

Garreg Goch 10 July, 2024 8:32 am

At face value, as a negotiating tactic, this sucks. If it fails to produce a step change in GP funding, the GPC has lost the game before a ball has been kicked.

Mark Howson 10 July, 2024 10:27 am

A statistic I find telling is that in the last 20 years the number of GPs has gone down but the number of hospital doctors has tripled. I guess up until 2010 that led to a much more effective secondary care sector then it was starved of funds so can’t support that level of staffing without return to 2010 levels of funding. But I still wonder why they need three times the number of doctors while we get along with fewer.

Scottish GP 10 July, 2024 2:17 pm

The reason secondary care is overwhelmed is the over referral of stuff well with in the competence of General Practice by Noctors AND overinivestihation by less experienced/ qualified staff.

David OHagan 11 July, 2024 4:09 pm

Is Dr Wrigley representing the BMA or the GPC or himself with this opinion?
2ry Care is struggling because of its inability to cope with the demand caused by not having General Practice funded to work alongside.
2ry Care is simply not able to manage the workload that a confident and funded General Practice can, so it needs to stop trying and let the expert GPs do their job.
If the system wont invest in GPs maybe 2ry care could donate some of their ever increasing proportion of the budget to the appropriate place.