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GPC calls on the Mail to campaign for more GPs



The BMA has asked the Mail on Sunday to join it in ‘vigorously campaigning’ for more GPs in an open letter to the paper.

Writing in response to an article on GP locums published in the Mail on Sunday and on the Daily Mail website titled ‘The GPs paid £100k to work just at weekends over the weekend, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said most GPs’ working environment is ‘characterised by relentless workload pressure from rising demand, declining resources and the move to transfer more services from hospitals into the community’.

Dr Vautrey said ‘the vast majority’ of GPs ‘won’t recognise’ the figures described in the article, and called on the Mail to join the BMA’s campaign for more GPs in a bid to reduce NHS reliance on locums.

He wrote: ‘If we are to put an end to the reliance on locums we need to urgently address the situation we have where not enough GPs are being recruited and too many are retiring from full-time work leaving practices struggling to replace them. In order to reduce the need to rely on locums, we hope the Mail will join us in vigorously campaigning for more GPs.’

According to the Mail’s article GP pay was ‘spiralling out of control’, however it also quoted House of Commons health committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston as saying that ‘the underlying problem here is the workforce shortfall in general practice, so it’s possible for people to work for agencies for these kind of rates.’

The BMA’s letter to the Mail

Dear Sir/Madam,

The way to reduce NHS organisations reliance on locums is to deal with the dangerous levels of workload that GPs working both in hours and out of ours are having to contend with (The GPs paid £100k just to work at weekends, Sunday 26 October).

The vast majority GPs won’t recognise the figures in the Mail’s report, but instead face a working environment characterised by relentless workload pressure from rising demand, declining resources and the move to transfer more services from hospitals into the community.

Despite this they continue day in, day out to put patients first and for many taking on locums, which practices themselves have to pay for out of their dwindling budgets, is a necessity to meet demand for appointments from the public. A shortage of GPs is exacerbating this problem, with hundreds of GP trainee posts left vacant this year and a BMA survey highlighting recently how six out of 10 GPs were considering early retirement.

If we are to put an end to the reliance on locums we need to urgently address the situation we have where not enough GPs are being recruited and too many are retiring from full-time work leaving practices struggling to replace them. In order to reduce the need to rely on locums, we hope the Mail will join us in vigorously campaigning for more GPs.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP committee

Source: BMA