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RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

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  • RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:39
  • GMS ready reckoner published

    GMS ready reckoner published

    Wednesday, 04 July 2018 15:22
  • Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

    Friday, 29 June 2018 15:11
  • Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Monday, 18 June 2018 17:31

gp winterNovember 19 2014

The Department of Health has announced additional funding of £300 million as part of its winter pressures campaign. The money is primarily targeted at additional bed space and to pay for additional clinical staff.

However, the announcement also says there will be closer involvement of GPs and social services organisations, along with a public information campaign encouraging people with non-urgent medical conditions to use the full range of NHS services.

The DoH points out that the NHS handles more than 3,000 extra attendances at A&E departments every day compared to 2010. Last month saw the launch of the ‘feeling under the weather’ campaign.

This “encourages people, particularly older people and those with respiratory conditions, to seek early advice from their local pharmacist. Those with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis, are particularly vulnerable, and for frailer and older people, even the common cold can become more serious.”

David Flory, Chief Executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority, said: “The NHS is going into winter when it is already under significant pressure, but clinicians and managers in hospitals up and down the country are all working hard to make sure that patients get the care they need when they need it. We know that some organisations face challenges and that’s why it’s important we do all we can to support those local teams, so today’s additional investment is very welcome.”

Responding to the announcement, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said: “While we recognise that our hospital colleagues will be under increased pressure, so will GPs and practice teams, who already make 90% of all NHS patient contacts.

“An extra £25m to help general practice cope with the rising number of patients who will need care over the winter will be put to very good use. We also expect CCGs to have discussions about how more of the funding announced today can be ploughed into general practice, so that we can reduce pressure on hospitals and prevent unnecessary admissions.

“Last year GPs made at least 360 million patient consultations – 40m more than four years ago – and demand for our services will undoubtedly be higher in the coming months. A&E might be handling 3,000 extra attendances a day more than in 2010, but in the same period, the number of patients visiting their GP has risen by over 120,000 a day.”

The best way to alleviate pressures on A&E and other services in secondary care is to improve access to general practice, she argued. “This will only be possible with sufficient investment that recognises the essential contribution that general practice makes to the NHS and the care our patients receive, whatever the time of year.”

She also called on NHS England to “think laterally to ensure that GPs are able to make best use of the limited resources available to us – perhaps by reducing some of the bureaucracy involved - so that we have more time to concentrate on patient care during the upcoming winter.”

For the BMA, Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said: “If the NHS is to stop lurching from one crisis to another it needs a long-term plan rather than a short-term fix.

“While extra funding is desperately needed, this announcement is merely a sticking plaster. It masks the fact that a funding gap of £30 billion is opening up in the NHS, and does not go far enough to address the underlying reasons why the system is under such extreme pressure.

“Pressure on services has been so great this year that, in addition to a looming winter crisis, many emergency departments have already experienced spring, summer and autumn crises. Many hospitals are already at, and in places over, capacity. At the same time, general practice is struggling to meet unprecedented demand in the face of tighter funding.

“Getting to grips with this will require more than short-term injections of money, taken from other overstretched services. There needs to be long-term investment in the NHS and urgent action to address the high number of staff vacancies in both emergency medicine and general practice.”

Links:

DOH announcement

RCGP response

BMA response

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