MWord Issue 109 – Dr Michelle Drage’s New Year 2024 message to practice teams

  • Mword

Be strong, be bold, be vocal on policy, priorities and funding ahead of this year's general election.

11 January 2024

Dear Colleague,

Attention: ALL GPs, nurses, practice managers and staff.
It’s 2024 and it’s General Election year.

And yesterday our GPC England Chair, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, issued a rallying cry for the months ahead – a set of priorities, or demands if you will, for the changes in policy, priorities and funding that our profession needs to see from any party intent on forming the next government.

Here they are:

  • Expert generalist GPs over skill-mix
  • Quality over quantity
  • Continuity to free up access
  • Autonomous patient-advocacy over banal service standardisation
  • Individuality over uniformity
  • Choice over compulsion
  • Human connection over AI
  • Relationship-based care over flawed dashboards
  • Senior-led triage over 1000s of online consults
  • Face-to-face over remote
  • Your known family doctor over “working at the top of your license”
  • Valuing your salaried GP colleagues over “adjusting the skill mix”
  • GMS Continuity of service provision over APMS Caretaker danger money
  • GP-led services over false economy of subsidised inferior patient experience
  • One GP appointment over half a dozen pass the parcel until you get a diagnosis
  • BMA advice over redundancy
  • Total practice income over high-bureaucracy low-trust hoop-jumping
  • Patient QALY long-term over QOF annual targets
  • MPIGs above overwhelmed services in deprived populations

This list is not exhaustive. We and our patients deserve better from government.

As Katie says, “We have a choice. GP principals, salaried GPs, loyal but frustrated patients, voters, civil servants, MPs, ministers… we all have a choice. GPC England defends high-quality, expert-generalist, GP-led family medicine from cradle to grave.”

Yet preliminary results from the BMA’s GP finance survey of 10% of English practices shows contract income has dropped by an average of more than 20% over 1 YEAR.

The very core of general practice has been systematically defunded in favour of a politically driven hamster wheel of piecework forced upon you, your nurses, your practice managers and your teams. And the consequence is the overwhelming number of practices who can’t recruit, can’t afford locums and are having to cross-cover. Government anti-core general practice policy has created a culture of practices, PCNs and Federations chasing pennies under buses to survive.

This is not General Practice. This isn’t what we trained to do.

It just has to stop.

Now more than ever we all need to be strong and bold for London general practice and London’s patients. Use every opportunity to help people understand why the set of demands that Katie has listed is the essential for the survival of your/their practice. Get your PPG on side. Look at the materials created by the Rebuild GP campaign and use them in your practice.

Be Strong, Be Bold. Be Vocal. General Elections come but once every 5 years. The next one is almost here.

Please share this MWord with all GPs, nurses, practice managers and staff.

As ever, I welcome your feedback at The team of experts, leaders and support staff here at Londonwide LMCs remain by your side.

With best wishes




Dr Michelle Drage MBBS FRCGP
CEO, Londonwide LMCs