Make needs of general practice clear at ballot box, urges London GP leader

GPs must take the opportunity to make the needs of the profession clear at the ballot box in Thursday's general election, London's GP leader has warned.

Dr Michelle Drage
Dr Michelle Drage

The call from Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage ahead of the 8 June general election follows a strong pre-election message from GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul at last month's LMCs conference in Edinburgh.

Dr Nagpaul used his keynote speech at the conference to tell GPs that they should ask patients to vote for a party that would give the NHS the funding it needs.

In a message to London GPs, Dr Drage said: 'With our third significant national vote in the last two years coming up it can be easy to feel a sense of democratic fatigue, but as healthcare professionals, whether GPs, nurses, practice managers, or those allied to us, there has never been a more important time for the needs of general practice in London to be made clear at the ballot box.

'Please, please enable staff and urge others to get out and vote on Thursday.'

Read more: Party manifesto NHS pledges

Earlier this week, pollsters Ipsos Mori found that public concern about the NHS was at a 15-year high ahead of the general election.

Health economists say no political party is pledging large enough increases to maintain the current 7.3% of GDP spent on the NHS. Based on current forecasts for economic growth, Labour plans would leave the health service with 7.2% of GDP by 2022/23, while Liberal Democrat plans would deliver 7.1% and Conservative plans 7% according to the Nuffield Trust.

In an interview with GPonline last month, Labour peer Lord Philip Hunt confirmed his party would outspend its rivals on the NHS.

In her message to London GPs, Dr Drage added: 'Whatever result we wake up to on 9 June Londonwide LMCs and your local LMCs will still be there as the only people who represent all GPs and practice teams without fear or favour. We support you through individual and practice problems, be they GMC, CQC, CCG or from quarters that aren't three letter abbreviations (TLAs). We represent you to commissioners, other providers, local government, national government, patient groups and anyone else whose work affects you and your patients.'

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