The RCGP’s #BackGP campaign, launched on 24 August, provides a template letter warning that general practice 'is on a knife edge'.
The letter calls for an extra £2.5bn a year to be invested in general practice, bringing total investment up to £14.5bn a year - demands first set out last month in the college's second annual review of the GP Forward View (GPFV).
The letter reads: ‘As plans are drawn up to spend the additional money committed to the NHS by the prime minister, the vital importance of general practice to the NHS must be recognised. That is why I’m backing the RCGP’s calls for £2.5bn extra a year to be invested in general practice services by 2020/21, bringing investment up to £14.5bn a year.’
It adds: ‘Funding general practice means that I can get care close to home, and away from hospitals where care is significantly more expensive. Investing in general practice truly is investing in patient care right across the health service.’
GP Forward View
The RCGP’s second annual assessment of the GPFV highlighted that the five-year plan was struggling to deliver the 5,000 extra full-time equivalent GPs by 2020 promised by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Official data show the full-time equivalent GP workforce in June 2018 was 1,400 below the level when the target was set.
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘With plans now being drawn up on how to spend the additional money committed to the NHS, it’s vital that general practice is recognised.
'That’s why we’ve launched our #BackGP campaign, encouraging GPs and the wider public to write to secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, and make sure general practice is given the extra £2.5bn it so desperately needs. The response so far has been amazing, and just goes to show how important primary care is to our wider health service.
'We’re certainly not giving up on the GP Forward View, but only with this additional funding will we be able to continue to deliver the safe care patients needs and deserve, close to home where they want it most, and away from hospitals where it is most expensive.
'Investing in general practice truly is investing in patient care right across the health service.'
The college is also asking people to contact the health and social care secretary via Twitter using the hashtag #BackGP.
In response to several tweets, Mr Hancock said: ‘I strongly back our brilliant GPs and their teams in the #NHS.'
Mr Hancock has cited workforce, technology and prevention has his three early priorities since his appointment as health and social care secretary in early July.