Health Secretary 'out of touch' with GPs' reality

by BMA media team

Press release from BMA.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 14 September 2021

Responding to comments made by Sajid Javid today in Parliament about the way GPs should be operating, including saying that they should work 'in the way they did before the pandemic', Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA GP committee, said:

“These comments show how far removed the Secretary of State is from the reality of what is happening in GP practices. They also reveal a lack of agreement even within Government as the Prime Minister says the pandemic is far from over and his Secretary of State is saying that life is starting to return almost to completely normal.

“For the Health Secretary to say he is working with the BMA is simply untrue – our letters, outlining what we believe is needed to help GPs, have gone unanswered. We would very much welcome the opportunity to have frank discussions with him about the current GP crisis, the need to stop the abuse directed at GPs and their teams, and what needs to be done to fix it.

“Life is absolutely not back to normal – the number of Covid related deaths and people in hospital continue to rise and there are now just 0.46 GPs per 1000 patients in England, down from 0.52 in 2015. To suggest a return to a pre-pandemic way of working is as impractical as it is unworkable for GPs. They need to see patients as safely as possible, often in premises unfit to do so and without anywhere near enough staff. They are also trying to see all those on the huge waiting lists who have not been able to get the care they needed in the past 18 month – a backlog that didn’t exist before the pandemic struck. GPs and their teams need so much more support and resource from this Government to be able to give patients the care they need and that doctors want to give.”

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.