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Reaction: Jeremy Hunt’s ‘New Deal’



Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair, GPC

The Secretary of State is right to highlight the great strengths of general practice and the need to increase investment to support this vital service that is so valued by patients.  

The priority must be to first address this overwhelming workload pressure GPs face, in order to  re-establish general practice as a career that is rewarding and appealing – only this will improve GP recruitment and retention. It is vital that government  moves beyond rhetoric and brings forward tangible resources and practical solutions to stabilise general practice, and give GP s the time and tools to care holistically for patients  We need urgent action now, not just aspiration for the future.

 

Dr Maureen Baker, chair, RCGP

We are really pleased that the Secretary of State is publicly acknowledging the value of general practice and the sterling job done by hardworking GPs up and down the country every day on behalf of their patients – after years of GPs being used as a whipping post by successive governments.

The College is credited widely for making a very compelling case for more investment in general practice –  including thousands more GPs –  and the emphasis that Mr Hunt places on boosting our workforce by  ‘recruiting, retaining and returning’ GPs shows that he is listening to us.

The secretary of state makes many commitments which, if they come to fruition, will put general practice on a more stable and secure footing for the future and ensure that family doctors can keep pace with rocketing patient demand and increasingly complex caseloads.

 

Dr Steve Kell co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners

As co-commissioners of general practice our members will be involved in programmes to develop and improve the quality of general practice in their local areas. NHSCC is well placed to work with our members, NHS England and others to design a programme of support for practices that is clinically led and clinically driven.

Vital to the development of this work will be to ensure that CCGs have the tools, capacity and resource to support practices effectively, which must include funding choices and running cost flexibility. It is essential CCGs are enabled to shift funding and support into out of hospital services as described in the 5 Year forward view, and deliver genuine support for practices.

Dr Zoe Norris, GP in Hull, Huffington Post blogger

Jeremy Hunt’s new deal for GPs is classically lacking on detail and big on rhetoric. There is a reaffirming of the pledge to recruit another 5,000 GPs, but interestingly no timescale for this. Physician associates, pharmacists and practice nurses all get a mention too.  Mr Hunt will generously tell us which areas of the country are under-doctored – I think we can already do this ourselves. He has promised increased flexibility for part-time GPs, but little idea of how this will be delivered on the ground.

An interesting and welcome change is the chance for trainees to spend an extra year in paediatrics, psychiatry or emergency care. There are definite pros to this; that trainees will gain extra skills and confidence in key areas relevant to primary care. There may be a sense of déjà vu too, when we remember calls to extend GP training to five years from three, and this plan was kyboshed because it would take too long for doctors to get through and join the workforce. So while it is admirable to want to offer a wider experience to GP trainees, it is hands on primary care they often need more time in; I’d argue its idealistic to be doing this at a time of such acute shortages.

 

Michael Ogilvie, medical accountant

The current sound bites are a bit like what happened with the Health and Social Care Act. They make demands but do not think them through carefully, and this will mean even more doctors retiring early and coming back as locums costing the NHS more

They say federations are the answer to everything – they aren’t. However, get surgeries collaborating locally and they can share responsibilities , resources and costs, and we might get a more fit-for-purpose NHS.

Specialism is one of the answers, getting pharmacists involved in prescribing is another, and getting these rare breeds called nurses more involved is another – but there are not enough to go round.

However, if more thought is applied to more effective use of these limited resources we might have a better chance – this means doctors doing what only doctors can do, nurses doing what nurses can do, etc etc.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation

We welcome Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comments on the role that primary and community care has in tackling the challenges facing the health service. Other countries look upon our system of list-based general practice with envy and we need to use it as the foundation for great care. Well-supported GPs have a huge role to play in this – and they are not alone.

We need to recognise that primary care extends far beyond GPs. The NHS Confederation has for a long time argued that increasing GP numbers alone will not solve workforce pressures in primary care.

 

Dr Nav Chana, Chairman of The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC)

This approach to workforce development in primary care must be focused on building teams with the right skills needed to address local population needs as well as addressing shortages in GP numbers.

NAPC recognises the importance of improving access to primary care across seven days, however, we need to ensure we first get the system right “in hours” and build on the evidence around patient access to avoid falling in the trap of supply induced demand. In addition there may be many more solutions to be explored for providing a seven-day service.

We also welcome the approach to reviewing outcomes around patient groups but wish to ensure that these include an emphasis on outcomes that matter to people including wellness, prevention and self-care as well as those related to illness.