Media comment: new Health Secretary needs to level with patients that something will have to give

  • Media comment

Dr Lisa Harrod Rothwell, Deputy CEO, Londonwide LMCs:

“There is an urgent need for the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to show understanding, support, and allyship for general practice. Practices are providing record numbers of appointments and GPs and their teams are under extreme strain as they juggle to maintain safe care despite a shrinking workforce. Growing patient numbers and condition complexity, Covid-related increased need, and a trio of vaccines to deliver over the coming months add to the strain.

“We need Ms Coffey to work with the profession and our patients and to set out what steps the Government will take to address the problems we are facing. I invite Ms Coffey and her new Ministerial team to meet with GPs in London to see the realities of frontline general practice in the midst of a workforce crisis, and to hear first-hand what help practices need to fill the increasingly dangerous gaps in general practice resources.*

“As we head into what will be one of the toughest winters for the NHS in living history, the current workforce crisis means that until there are more GPs and practice staff something will have to give between providing core general practice and vaccinating several million Londoners at pace. And we need Government to take a leading role in managing patient expectations, rather than leaving GPs and their teams to be the bad guys.”

      • * Our recent six-monthly workforce survey revealed that 61% of London general practices are operating with at least one vacancy, and the patient populations of those practices with vacancies (80% of which are for GPs) totals nearly two million patients.