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I wrote to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens this week to urge him to address problems GPs have been experiencing with Primary Care Services England – the back-office service Capita has been commissioned by NHS England to support practices and sessional GPs.
Persistent issues – such as delays in the transfer of medical records and the removal of violent patients from practice lists, GPs not being visible on the performers' list and left unable to work, inadequate processing of pensions contributions and many others – are increasing risk and distress to patients and placing further strain on overstretched GP practices.
This situation is completely unacceptable to GPs and local medical committees across the country and must be dealt with. We need firm assurances that action will be taken to fix these problems as swiftly as possible.
Read the letter to Mr Stevens
Read The Guardian article on this issue
Read the BMA News story
Read the BMA press release
Folkestone practices under pressure
Practices across the country are under huge pressure, with some reaching breaking point.
An example of this is the situation in Folkestone, where this week a surgery has been forced to close its doors. This provides yet more evidence of how desperate general practice has become, as funding and recruitment problems have left many practices in the area unable to cope.
Large numbers of patients face disruption to their care as other local practices that are already at or over capacity will struggle to take on new patients. Sky News has reported on the situation in Folkestone and next week we will release a BMA film shot at the surgeries in the town to tell their stories.
View clips from the exclusive interviews in Folkestone
Read the Sky News article
Raising the international recruitment stakes
NHS England recently published new guidance on its plans to expand the International GP Recruitment Programme, with an aim to recruit 2,000 GPs from overseas by 2020. This is an increase of 1,500 on their original pledge outlined in the General Practice Forward View.
Clinical commissioning groups and sustainability and transformation partnerships will now be able to join the programme through an applications process that focuses on GP vacancies, practice engagement, geographical information, retention, funding, and a few others.
Read the NHS England guidance