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Lack of funding undermining primary medical care

General practice cannot reached its full potential in the face of continuing under-investment in the profession, the cutting of MPIG funding, the problems recruiting and retaining GPs and the lack of investment in premises, GP leaders have warned.

Backing a motion1 at the annual Local Medical Committee’s conference in York, GPs said that general practice can be the solution to many of the current problems facing the NHS, but was held back by the serious damage being done to the profession.

The calls come weeks after the British Medical Association launched its ‘Your GP cares’ campaign to support GPs and calls for long term, sustainable investment to be made in GP services across the UK, to:

· Expand the overall number of GPs to attract, retain and expand the number of GPs and ensure patients are given the time, care and services they deserve

· Expand the numbers of other practice staff so each practice has enough nurses and other staff to meet the increasing needs of especially older and vulnerable patients

· Improve and bring up to scratch the premises GP services are provided from and ensure local practices have the resources they need to sustain current high levels of care

Commenting, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee, added:

“As GPs we care immensely about our patients and we are as concerned as they are by the constraints impacting on services, which are undermining our ability to do the best for them.

“GPs are constantly fire-fighting to provide the services their patients need in the face of increasing workload pressures2, the worsening state of GP premises and the rising number of vulnerable patients3 and those living with a chronic condition4 for whom the standard 10 minute appointment is simply not enough. We are also now increasingly providing services that had previously been delivered in hospitals, which is raising demand for services further.

“This can all have a detrimental effect on the services practices are able to provide, leaving patients frustrated as more are left waiting for appointments. It is vital that we address this issue, which is why the ‘Your GP cares’ campaign aims to bring to people’s attention the true picture of general practice.

“General practice can be a key solution to managing the increasing pressure on the health service, but only if its receives the long-term, sustainable investment in the things that will make a real difference to patients – more GPs, more practice staff and fit for purpose premises.”

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