Media comment: Chancellor’s bet on future tech does little for patients and GPs today

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Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, our Deputy CEO calls for investment in frontline care now rather than pinning hopes on future innovations.

“General practice in the Capital and across the country is struggling to maintain safe care against a headwind of increased patient need and long-standing underfunding. Today’s announcement offers no new investment in training and employing more GPs in economically deprived areas. The measures announced will only add to the spiralling attrition, crippling bureaucracy and unsafe, decision-fatigue-filled, 12-plus hour working days that are instrumental in driving professionals away from general practice at an ever younger age.

“Investing in health AI and life sciences sounds good, but will make little difference to current pressures when patients are sat in GP consulting rooms while computers crash and take five minutes to open basic software. Sustained investment in general practice infrastructure and staff (both clinical and admin) is needed to bolster preventative care, remove pressure from hospitals in the long-term, and provide better quality of life for patients.

“Support for life sciences and new medications and treatments is essential and GPs value and rely on medical research to advance the care they can provide to patients. However, with such high demand for appointments there are real concerns that investing in signing up patients for possible research, rather than in the staff and facilities needed to manage people’s health right now, life science led awareness programmes are encouraging thousands of patients to follow up quite normal test results from medical studies with their already overwhelmed GP. With no additional resources or appointment slots to support this, and no details shared about the investigations already conducted by these roadshows, this is hugely irresponsible and shows no respect for primary care, or our limited resources.”

Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, Deputy CEO, Londonwide Local Medical Committees.

Londonwide LMCs is the independent voice of over 7,000 GPs and almost 1,100 practices in the Capital, our press office contacts are here.

Notes:

  1. On 8 November it was announced that £800m was being diverted from existing NHS funds to go to integrated care boards across England, on the understanding it be used to partially reimburse hospital trusts for spending on strike cover.
  2. Recently announced investment into the general practice workforce has been ringfenced for spending on pharmacists, social prescribers, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals working in ‘ARRS’ roles. Practices are not permitted to use this money for training, recruiting or retaining GPs and general practice nurses.