Responding to the announcement by Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, that GPs would be expected to provide appointments to patients within two weeks of them requesting one and have performance statistics published, we issued the following statement:
“It’s disappointing that the new Secretary of State is wasting this opportunity to work with GPs and show understanding, support, and allyship for practice staff and patients in favour of tub-thumping rhetoric as we head into what will be one of the toughest winters in NHS history.
“Today’s announcement is not about improving patient care, but trying to further drive a wedge between doctors and patients. GPs and their teams are juggling maintaining safe care despite a shrinking workforce. Growing patient numbers and condition complexity mean that until there are more GPs and practice staff something will have to give.
“The clinical workforce to deliver on these new GP waiting time targets is just not there, and Ministers know this. They should level with patients about what they can expect from their GP practices this winter, and be part of a managed solution balancing care, resource and expectation. Once again they expect GPs and their teams to take the flack despite practices providing record numbers of appointments.”
Dr Michelle Drage, CEO, Londonwide LMCs