GP underfunding reflects 'historical contempt' for primary care, warns outgoing NHS Alliance chair

Persistent underfunding of NHS general practice reflects a 'deep, continuing and historical contempt for primary care', the outgoing NHS Alliance chairman has warned.

Devon GP Dr Michael Dixon attacked the ‘utterly unbelievable’ NHS focus on secondary care, citing its domination of leadership positions and the closing ratio of specialists to GPs in a speech to mark his retirement.

Primary care has lost 25% of its share of overall NHS funding over the past decade, and Dr Dixon claimed that some money intended for general practice was diverted to cover up financial deficits in secondary care.

GP funding

‘General practice has already carried a disproportionate share of austerity at a time when it has been expected to extend its role,’ he warned. ‘Hospital deficits were eventually paid off. You can’t have deficits in general practice - practices simply go bust.’

People with secondary care backgrounds take ’all the top positions’ in health within the NHS and government, Dr Dixon said. There was no primary care clinical voice in these key positions, which ‘represents a deep, continuing and historical contempt for primary care,’ he argued.

Senior NHS figures attended the address to mark the end of Dr Dixon’s 18 years as NHS Alliance chairman. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Dr Dixon for his contribution to the NHS and laid out plans for a greater emphasis on primary care. He said: ‘A lot of it is the Dixon plan. It’s the NHS plan. It’s the plan to put GPs at the heart of the transformation that we now want to happen.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Child coughing

NICE traffic light tool that helps GPs spot seriously ill under-5s 'unreliable'

NICE's 'traffic light' system - intended to help GPs indentify risk of serious illness...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

GMC sign

Overseas-graduate GPs fare worse in medical tribunals due to lack of legal help

UK GPs who graduated overseas face worse outcomes in GMC cases because they are far...

Woman using HRT patch

Practical advice for GPs on prescribing HRT

GP menopause specialists Dr Louise Newson and Dr Olivia Jones provides an overview...

NHS logo on tiled wall

PCNs falling short on 26,000 staff target and need more flexibility, GPs warn

Government plans to bring in 26,000 staff by 2024 to support general practice are...

Talking General Practice logo with picture of Dr Ed Cantelo and Dr Tommy Perkins

Podcast: How two GPs set up a business to advise doctors about finance

Talking General Practice speaks to GPs Dr Tommy Perkins and Dr Ed Cantelo from Medics...