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#GPnews: Patients Association calls for more GP funding after Pulse investigation

16:45 The Patients Association have issued a press release about Pulse’s investigation into practice closures.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ’This investigation highlights the desperate situation that primary care services in England find themselves in. We hear from so many patients on our helpline who are struggling to access their GP, with a number particularly concerned about their GP practice merging with others around them.

There must be further investment to help train and retain GPs

’Closing surgeries limits access to care and patient choice. The increase in the number of patients having to travel further to visit their GP is particularly worrying. Many elderly and vulnerable patients are often unable to travel far to visit their GP.

’Primary care services are vital for their safety and well being and must be as accessible as possible. The Patients Association understands that many GP surgeries are struggling to cope due to a lack of funding, and a shortage of frontline staff.

’There must be further investment to help train and retain GPs, practice nurses and pharmacists in order to give patients the care that they need. Without stronger support for GPs, primary care services will continue to be unable to meet the needs of patients.’

16:25 A major NSPCC survey of GPs among other professionals has found that 90% feel services to help abused children overcome their trauma are inadequate, while three-quarters say it has got more difficult in the last five years to access therapy.

The charity said: ’All too often children who have been abused have to develop chronic mental health problems, be suicidal or self-harm before therapeutic services become available to them, according to the survey and other findings.

’With sexual offences against children at record levels and more than ever known about how widespread abuse is, the charity is calling for those affected to be prioritised.’

16:05 Our blog of the day is Copperfield on the message that the LMCs Conference has to give: ‘Seeing your GP is not safe’

15:15 Some high profile names are beginning to throw their hats in the ring for the BMA council elections.

Dr Hamed Khan, spokesperson for the RCGP and GP Survival, has said he is running:

As is Dr Roshana Mehdian, who has been appearing on the media frequently attacking the Government over the junior doctors contract dispute:

12:25 Unite has issued a press release on the special LMCs conference this weekend, saying it will support controversial motions on undated resignations and a salaried GP service. More on that to follow.

12:00 The BMA has launched its new support package for practices, which includes guidance on workload and federating, car stickers and posters and ways to lobby your MP. Poster is below. 

23488 1 prescription for general practice

23488 1 prescription for general practice

Pulse has also spoken to GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who explains what the GPC hopes to get from the special LMCs conference this weekend.You can read all about the conference on our new dedicated page.

11:34 Department of Health has just published its full response to Pulse’s investigation on practice closures. In summary: ’200,000 patients isn’t that many, what are you worried about?’ #complacent #much


10:50 Here is an absolutely bizarre story from the US: an influential panel has called for everyone over the age of 18 to be screened for depression. The US Preventive Services Task Force found that ’if you just wait for patients to say they’re depressed, you miss a significant number of people who are depressed and would benefit from treatment’, according to Reuters.

The recommendation was published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Professor Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Health Care in California, who was not involved in the recommendations, said he approved and that ’There is no reason why you can’t do the screening right there (in the waiting room) on an iPad’.

10:44 RCGP Scotland chair Dr Miles Mack is in the headlines today, with his warning that cuts to general practice budgets in Scotland may result in GP services disappearing completely. Although the headline/photo combination is a little unfortunate…

10:05 Elsewhere today, there are follow-ups on the tragic story about the 12-month-old who died of sepsis after numerous failings, including the failure of NHS 111 to pick it up. The BBC picked up on the apology in Parliament by Jeremy Hunt.

9:30 Welcome to Pulse’s new daily live blog. We will be covering all the major health news of the day on this page, and it will be updated throughout the day.

We start today with the reaction to our top story – that 200,000 patients had to move surgeries last year due to practice closures.

Most of the nationals have covered the story – including the Times, the Telegraph, the Mail, the Mirror, the Sun and the BBC.

Got a story? Let us know by tweeting the hashtag #GPnews or emailing