GP crisis could “destroy” the NHS hears BMA conference

A warning that the general practice (GP) funding and recruitment crisis could “destroy” has been issued by a leading member of the British Medical Association (BMA).

Speaking at the annual two-day Local Medical Committees (LMCs) conference which is taking place from 21 to 22 May at the Institute of Education in London, BMA GPs committee chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that patient demand, declining recruitment and lack of investment in general practice could lead to the collapse of the wider NHS.

Dr Nagpaul said: “This is not just a perfect storm, but an absolute hurricane … a hurricane that will destroy the whole fabric of the NHS if the Government does not act swiftly.

“The newly elected Government must wake up to this alarming reality, not only because it will fail dismally in its manifesto pledge for 5,000 extra GPs, but crucially because unless it turns this around we won’t have a comprehensive general practice service in parts of the UK.”

Dr Nagpaul added that the numbers of NHS doctors working as GPs had shrunk from 34 percent to 25 percent.

Turning to the question of seven-day services, Dr Nagpaul said: “If Government claims to have any clue about the plight of general practice it must halt its obsession with practices to open for seven days when there aren’t enough GPs to cope with demand.

“This would damage quality care by spreading GPs so thinly and will reduce GPs’ availability for older, vulnerable patients. If we carry on the way we are, we’re putting not only ourselves but our patients at risk of care that is lacking in quality and is potentially unsafe.”

 

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