The petition was set up by North Staffordshire LMC vice chair Dr Lorna Clarson to challenge the ‘perfect storm’ facing the profession.
General practice now receives around 7.5% of the overall NHS budget, down from 11% a decade ago. Funding pressure and rising workload have made general practice ‘such an unattractive choice of specialty that there is no prospect of recruiting enough trainee GPs’, Dr Clarson told GPonline.
The North Staffs LMC vice chair is encouraging all GPs to sign the petition, even if their practice is among a minority 'not yet feeling the pinch'.
'Traditionally the government has used a divide and conquer strategy,' she said, 'appealing to the more moderate GPs to censor the more militant. I would argue that the time for those distinctions has passed, and that we must think not just about ourselves and our patients but stand together to support our colleagues and our families.’
Speaking to GPonline in October, Dr Richard Vautrey emphasised the responsibility GPs have to stand up to the cuts. He said: ‘Day by day we hear practices struggling more in the face of recruitment and workload pressures. GPs are getting to the point where it isn’t safe to maintain practice in the way they want to. We have effectively a duty of candour to raise this and get the government and NHS England to respond.’
Nearly 1,000 people have signed Dr Clarson's petition, and but it needs 10,000 names to force a response from the government, and 100,000 to be considered for a debate in parliament.