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#GPnews: Junior doctors put ball in Government’s court as strike concludes

17:18 Not so fast… BMA’s junior doctor chair Dr Johann Malawana has closed the two-day strike by calling again for the Government to withdraw the imposition of the contract.

Thanking the public for their support, Dr Malawana said: ‘What happens next is in the Government’s hands. It cannot continue to ignore the tens of thousands of junior doctors opposed to this contract and who want to end this dispute through talks.

‘I have written to [the] health secretary calling on him again to lift the imposition, re-enter talks and address junior doctors’ outstanding concerns which are about much more than just pay.’

17:05 Closing today’s live blog is our article, also derived from the trove of general practice statistics released by the HSCIC today, which shows there were 201 fewer GP practices in England in 2015 compared to the year before.

Read the full story here

17:01 As the second day of full junior doctor strike comes to an end, an ITV poll shows that (at the time of writing) 92% agree with their decision to walk out.

But ITV’s analysis of the situation says that ‘with services largely unaffected by the strike action, it remains to be seen if the Government will back down’.

15:53 The RCGP has also commented on the news that the number of GPs in England has decreased.

Honorary secretary Professor Nigel Mathers said that against the growing population and increasing numbers of elderly and patients with long-term conditions, ‘any drop in the GP workforce is incredibly serious’.

But, on an optimistic note, he added: ‘We have seen some promising signs in the latest recruitment rounds for general practice. Today’s figures show just how essential it is that we build on this, and the commitment to building the general practice workforce outlined in NHS England’s GP Forward View, published last week.’

13:41 There was only a brief mention in passing of the ongoing second day of all-out junior doctor strikes during the Prime Minister’s Questions today, reports the BBC, with the opposition choosing to press the Government on education topics instead.

But Jeremy Corbyn showed that he does care about the junior doctors’ plight, having yesterday joined in their demonstration against the contract imposition in person.

He posted a video of the speech he made to junior doctors on Twitter, during which he moved to reassure them: ‘Don’t worry, not all Jeremys are bad.’

13:21 The BMA has released a statement in response to the news that the number of GPs and staff in general practice is declining.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the figures ‘further expose the crisis in general practice with GPs leaving because of unsustainable workload pressures’.

He said: ‘It is deeply worrying that at a time of escalating patient demand, especially from an ageing population, there has been a decrease in the number of GPs and staff focused on delivering patient care. The public is already seeing the impact of this in their local GP practice, with many struggling to provide enough appointments.’

He added that ‘ministers cannot wait a moment longer and need to ensure that recent promises of new funding to GP practices materialise as quickly as possible’.

12:00 ‘ How the demographics of general practice are changing’

The Health and Social Care Information Centre has published GP workforce statistics that show some dramatic changes in general practice over the next year.

Although there have been some changes to methodology – which means the new figures cannot be directly compared with previous year’s publications, HSCIC has recalculated 2014 figures using the same methodology to provide accurate year-on-year comparisons.

The key findings from the figures reveal that there has been a 2% drop in the number of GPs, an increase in GPs per patient and an increase in practice nurses. 

Read the full details here

9:40  Good morning and welcome to the live blog. 

Junior doctors have commenced the second day of all-out strike action in protest against the Government’s imposition of the new contract.

Nearly 80% of junior doctors took part in yesterday’s first day of the strike, where they walked out on routine and emergency care at 8am Tuesday morning.

The Guardian reports that at some hospitals yesterday, almost 90% of junior doctors refused to work between 8am and 5pm.