GPs have enough money to meet patient demand, says new Tory health minister

A Conservative MP appointed as a health minister this week says GPs are adequately funded to meet patient demand, despite warnings from the profession that general practice is billions of pounds short of the funding it needs.

DH headquarters, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)
DH headquarters, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)

Junior health minister Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock, says on her website that Thurrock needs more GPs, and claims that local GP practices are partly to blame.

The website says: 'Central to establishing good health provision is a strong network of GPs who know their patients and make sure that they manage their care. When that fails there is more burden on our hospitals as we are seeing this winter.

'Here in Thurrock we have a shortage of GPs – partly because we aren’t doing enough to attract them, and partly because GP practices aren’t delivering enough to meet local demand. This Government has introduced inspection of GP practices and we will be making sure that when they take responsibility for more patients they make sure they have the staff in the practice to meet demand. They get the money to do so. They must invest in their practices so that patients can see their GP when they need to.'

The new junior health minister's comments are at odds with comments from GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who told GPonline earlier this year that even if the full £2.4bn uplift to annual GP funding promised in the GP Forward View was implemented now, the profession would remain billions of pounds underfunded.

GP access

The GPC chair also called on GPs to tell their patients to vote for a party that would fund the NHS properly in his speech at this year's LMCs conference ahead of the general election.

Winchester and Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine has also been made a health minister under the new administration being formed by prime minister Theresa May.

His website says he has made the NHS his 'number one priority' since first being elected to parliament in 2010. The constituency is 'well served' by GP practices, his website says. He highlights concerns about the 'consumerisation' of healthcare 'and the problems that causes for access'.

It adds: 'Politicians are not serving the NHS or the patients if we keep promising it can do more and more. As a responsible MP who puts the NHS first in his constituency I always want to listen to local GPs and work alongside them, as well as their patients to ensure we have services in the right place at the right time. As more and more houses are built that also means working closely with NHS England on GP access and maintaining important, yet small, in-community provision such as we have in South Wonston and Twyford.'

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