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Doctors unveils plan to ‘save’ general practice

BMA says six key problem areas must be addressed to ensure a sustainable future

Mark Gould

Monday, 13 November 2017

The BMA has set out the six key areas which it says must be addressed to "save general practice".

In its new report, Saving General Practice, it calls for "recurrent and sustainable funding and resources" to secure a minimum spend of 11% of the total NHS budget goes into general practice; a funding deficit that is currently estimated at £3.7 billion.

It also calls for a workforce strategy that is recurrently funded to enable an expansion of a collaborative multi-disciplinary general practice and community workforce working both in practices and within localities.

And it calls for the NHS and government to draw up a "sustainable, long-term indemnity package for general practice" that covers all GPs on the national performers list and all staff providing NHS general practice services both in and out of hours.

Practices must be allowed to manage their workload in order to deliver safe services and empower patients and carers as partners in care. And it calls for the retention of a national core contract for general practice that provides a high-quality service for patients.

Finally, premises, IT infrastructure and administrative support must be enhanced to enable the delivery of quality care.

The report concludes: "The problems outlined within this document provide a clear picture of the significant pressures currently undermining general practice. It has been widely acknowledged by government and other bodies, whether explicitly or through documents such as the GP Forward View, that if these pressure points continue to escalate and worsen, general practice could risk serious system failure that could compromise patient safety."

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of Royal College of GPs, said the College welcomed the report which backs up what it has been saying about workforce pressures and the need for further investment and resources.

"We need the £2.4 billion a year extra for general practice and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020 - promised in NHS England's GP Forward View - delivered in England, in full, and equivalent promises for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as a matter of urgency,” Prof Stokes-Lampard said.

"We look forward to constructive collaboration with our colleagues at the General Practitioners Committee of the BMA to shape the future of UK general practice and ensure that we continue working together to create a safer and more sustainable future for GPs so that we can deliver the best possible care to our patients."

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