Be vocal and help make the case for general practice

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A message from the Londonwide LMCs team at this crucial point in the relationship between the NHS and the politicians who control it.

With a general election fast approaching, and manifestos being finalised well in advance of the expected autumn date, now is the time to ramp up engagement with politicians and the media. We know it is a ‘doorstep’ issue, but many key stakeholders and opinion formers who are unaware, or unconvinced, of the scale of the problems facing general practice right now and how they can be solved.

If you have been approached by a journalist or politician who wants to speak to you about the challenges facing general practice please get in touch. The Londonwide LMCs communications team can advise how to get the best out of any conversations or meetings, including how to avoid any potential pitfalls and mitigate controversial topics. They also have access to briefing materials, such as our workforce survey. Part of the support includes working through whether engaging with the approach you have received is right for you and your practice – no one is pressured to participate in anything they do not want to.

An example of our ongoing political engagement work is an April 2024 meeting between representatives from Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster LMC and Felicity Buchan, MP for Kensington. The LMC members raised issues including what access models work best for patients and their practices. Felicity Buchan now has this campaign running, opposing separate same day access services and supporting continuity with a patient’s registered GP. In March 2024 we and the RebuildGP campaign (see below) supported a practice in Sutton who had been approached by their local newspaper, who went on to write this article looking at the premises and workforce pressures the practice faces.

We have been working with the GPDF funded Rebuild General Practice campaign to highlight and discuss the crisis in general practice before the political influencing window narrows. The more awareness that practices can generate the better: writing to local or national elected politicians, contacting your local and regional media and engaging with your patient group.

Key areas a potential government should be focusing on include; a plan to retain the GP workforce; fairer funding as part of the wider NHS, and; greater freedom and autonomy to carry out the job without micro restrictions. You can also find useful tips and template letters on the Rebuild General Practice campaign site.

Whether you write to your MP or local newspaper, call into a radio phone in, share Londonwide LMCs or RebuildGP social media posts, or encourage your colleagues or patients to do so, you can make a crucial difference. RebuildGP are also keen to get videos or photos of practices using their resources on social media and are encouraging people who may be willing to act as case studies to submit their details here.