Exclusive: Health secretary Alan Johnson's new year's message for GPs

Health secretary Alan Johnson says that the GP role will become even more critical this year, in his new year's message to GPs.

Alan Johnson (Photograph:Peter Crane)
Alan Johnson (Photograph:Peter Crane)

Writing exclusively for Healthcare Republic, Mr Johnson details the ‘significant milestones’ achieved in primary care, congratulates GPs and their teams for an ‘outstanding job’ in 2008 and reveals the crucial role he is looking for the profession to fulfil this year.

Mr Johnson’s message in full:
I’m delighted to be starting another new year as health secretary. There’s no such thing as a quiet year in the life of the NHS and 2008 was no exception.

In primary care alone, we’ve seen many significant milestones: more surgeries opening in the evenings and at weekends; new investment for GP practices in under-doctored areas; we’ve agreed fairer funding for GP practices with the BMA; and just over a month ago, I had the pleasure of opening the first GP health centre in Bradford. 

These changes are important, because primary care is in many ways what defines the NHS. Over the past year, I have been lucky enough to visit practices across the country, and have seen first hand the outstanding job that GPs, practice nurses and primary care staff do.

Easy access to a doctor if you’re sick or worried about your health is the bit of the NHS that the public cherishes the most. And it is the dedication and hard work of GPs and the many primary care professionals who work with them, that we have to thank for some of the most significant recent improvements in the health and wellbeing of people in this country.  

In 2009 and beyond, the role of GPs will become even more critical. It is GPs who will lead the fight against major preventable illnesses and lifestyle diseases such as obesity. And it is GPs who can enable people to take more control over their own health – whether by managing a long-term condition more effectively or by leading a healthier life.
So thank you for all your hard work and for everything you’ve achieved and I wish you every success for the coming year.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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