GPs want to deliver personalised, effective care. It is what we became GPs to do and through hard work, often unrecognised, we have made the service one that is admired across the world.
However, in recent years, GPs have encountered obstacles that have made it increasingly difficult to give patients the level of care they need. Practices are seeing more and more older patients with complicated conditions. Politicians seem set on a path to push more work from hospitals and into GP services.
We are working harder than ever to meet this challenge and this year, NHS England estimates that we will deliver 340m consultations in the UK, up 40m since 2008. But we are being hamstrung by a lack of additional funding, rising practice expenses and the declining state of many premises.
We are showing GPs care about this and calling for ministers to recognise that we cannot go on this way. General practice is becoming unsustainable and needs urgent help to survive.
We need more GPs and practice staff for us to be able to deliver increasingly complicated care.
We need a sustained programme of investment in GP premises to make them suitable for modern general practice and fit for the challenges ahead.
We need this now – no more dithering, no more pretending that we can deliver more with less.
Our campaign will send posters and other materials to practices, so patients can understand the pressures we are under and sign up to support us. There will also be a drive to influence politicians and policymakers across the UK. The GPC will be working with stakeholders to provide the solutions we need to secure the future of general practice.
General practice is at a crossroads. We can ignore the challenges and see it overwhelmed, or raise this with patients and push to ensure policymakers provide the funding and policies needed to deliver the quality care our patients deserve.
- Dr McCarron-Nash is a GPC negotiator and a GP in Truro, Cornwall