BMA responds to King's Fund call to put primary and community services at heart of healthcare

by BMA media team

Press release form the BMA

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 14 February 2024

Responding to the new 'Making care closer to home a reality' report from the King's Fund, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of GPC England at BMA, said:

“These damning findings paint a sad picture of how underfunding and neglect is crippling every corner of our NHS. As stated, demand for general practice has ballooned in recent years, but we’ve not seen adequate support or focus from the Government on addressing these new challenges.

“The report says that we have seen an increase of almost 35,000 GP appointments a day, to an astounding 876,164 daily, since 2018/19, but this is still a massive underestimate. BMA data shows there is an average of 1.39 million appointments delivered by practices in England every day, which includes those provided by other general practice staff, such as nurses and other practitioners. We have witnessed an exodus of GP numbers, with around 1,900 fewer fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs since 2015, despite being promised the recruitment of more than 6,000 in that time. Coupled with rising costs, many practices are struggling to stay open without much needed help.”

“This should act as a wake-up call for the Government. As the King’s Fund has outlined, there has to be a rethink on plans for general practice, otherwise services will simply continue to drop in quality. Staff do the very best for their patients, but if there aren’t enough of the right sort of staff then patient satisfaction will continue to decline.

“General practice is often the first stop for patients when they are unwell and vital places for communities. With discussions still ongoing regarding the GP contract for 2024/25, and too many NHS practices struggling due to insufficient investment and high levels of inflation, this is an opportunity for the Government to get serious about its vision for general practice, make significant improvements on its paltry 1.9% contractual offer and invest in the GP workforce of the present and future.”

Notes to editors

 

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.