Conservative conference: GPs stretched too thin, warns RCGP

General practice is in a 'precarious state' because the primary care workforce is spread dangerously thin, the RCGP chairwoman-elect has told the Conservative party conference.

Dr Maureen Baker: general practice starved of resources
Dr Maureen Baker: general practice starved of resources

Dr Maureen Baker, who will become chairwoman of the RCGP in November, called for more resources and more GPs when she spoke at the conference in Manchester on Monday.

Spending on each patient in general practice has fallen by 6.3% in the last five years, Dr Baker warned.

‘The service is stretched too thin,’ she said. ‘It is becoming dangerous. General practice is in crisis and we urgently need additional resource into primary care.’

GPs need to be able to spend longer with patients, she said, warning that 'shortage of time is a killer' with multiple adverse effects.

‘We are not talking about reinventing the Dr Finlay, 1948 general practice,’ she said. ‘We are talking about 21st century general practice with enough doctors, enough primary care professionals, enough investment  in services and diagnostics, in ancillary staff to be able to offer the kind of service that patients can reasonably expect, which is still incredibly clinically effective, incredibly cost effective.

‘My point is that currently we are being starved of resources.’

General practice will not be able to deliver what patients want ‘if we are going to stay at this incredibly precarious state that we are currently in’, she warned.

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