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Enough of excuses from Government on GP funding, says BMA

The BMA is calling on the UK Government to ‘stop making excuses’ not to increase GP funding.

Speaking to local medical committee delegates at today’s UK LMCs Conference in Liverpool, BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said this follows a ‘lean decade’ for general practice.

He went on to call for parity for GPs, compared with hospital colleagues, when it comes to risks of indemnity and property ownership. 

He said: ‘The Treasury have used excuse after excuse not to fund general practice properly.

We’ve had the international banking crisis in 2008 which limited the funding to the NHS, years of austerity, and now because of their uncertainties about the financial consequences of Brexit, rather than investing an additional £350m a week in to the NHS as everyone was promised by the leave campaigners, the reality is that Brexit is currently hurting the NHS, leaving it without the funding we and our patients desperately need.’

He also suggested the Government should carry on the winter indemnity scheme, which pays for GPs working extra out-of-hours shifts, beyond April.

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He said: ‘[GPs] effectively pay an indemnity tax of many thousands of pounds just for the privilege of working. And then we have the ridiculous situation in England of a helpful winter indemnity scheme for out of hours being cut from April when it is still desperately needed.’

And said: ‘We don’t expect a junior doctor or consultant to buy in to the bricks and mortar of the hospital building, and yet all too often there is still a need for a new GP to do that if they want to be a partner in a practice.

‘The deal in Scotland shows that something can be done about this.  It is possible for the NHS to share some of the risk.  With commitment, imagination and yes some resources, it is possible to stabilise practices that are on the edge of closure.’

He concluded by saying that if general practice does collapse because the Government failed to act, it was not because of GPs not speaking up about the pressures.