Media comment: new Government has opportunity to reverse degradation of core general practice

  • Media comment

New Ministers can cut red tape to employ more GPs, alongside having an honest conversation about what the service is resourced to do.

Dr Michelle Drage, CEO, Londonwide LMCs said:

“Congratulations to the new Government and to prospective new PM Sir Kier Starmer on today’s election victory, announced on the exact day the NHS was founded 76 years ago!

“London’s GPs and patients need the new Government to stand up for safe care. This change in national leadership presents a fresh opportunity to reverse the previous Government’s systematic degradation of the core of general practice.

“We need an honest conversation about what can be delivered safely with the available resources. That means focussing on what is safe and clinically appropriate provision for both patients and their general practitioners; freeing up practices from endless NHS England and integrated care board bureaucratic accountability measures which stop professionals focussing on the continuity of care that patients and professionals alike recognise as fundamental and motivating. The Government must also prioritise workforce funding being spent on GPs and core practice staff, ie practice nurses, practice managers, frontline receptionists and administrative staff to stem the spiralling attrition of the key workers who provide the most cost-effective component of our NHS.

“Together we must grab this first chance in 15 years to stabilise and secure the future of general practice, to enable people to get the best from their GP team in a timely way. This will re-motivate and reinvigorate the GP workforce so that general practice and the doctors and nurses driving it are themselves healthy, well and fit to provide the quality of care that patients will need for the future.

“The current situation is dire: 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. Those working in practices recognise the unprecedented pressures facing the NHS and politicians to achieve financial balance despite resource constraints, increasing patient and population need and rationing of access to specialist services. We need political leaders to be honest about what they can expect from general practice and redress the prioritisation, policies and decisions that have resulted in most GPs in London now feeling that there are unable to deliver safe care.”