LMC Conference 2014: Primary care needs greater share of NHS budget

A greater proportion of NHS funding should be allocated to general practice as the profession approaches a 'saturation point', LMC representatives at the 2014 annual conference have warned.

LMC conference: share of NHS budget for primary care must rise
LMC conference: share of NHS budget for primary care must rise

Delegates at the conference in York on Thursday unanimously voted for a motion demanding a rise in primary care funding.

They also voted for the GPC to recognise that the NHS will ‘no longer be sustainable’ if funding in general practice continues to dwindle, and backed a motion deploring 'the political rhetoric which denies that general practice is underfunded’.

A total of 90% of patient contacts take place in general practice, but it only receives 7.5% of the total NHS spending, a 25% drop from 2005, the conference heard. Meanwhile, general practice has seen a 36% increase in workload between 1995 and 2009.

Dr Violaine Carpenter, from Hertfordshire LMC, spoke for the motion. She said: ‘Work continues to deluge from secondary to primary care to a point where 10- to 12-hour days are now standard. We've reached a saturation point, and GP morale is at its lowest in the decade.’

Current pressure is not safe

‘What other workforce in the UK could cope with this? It is not right and it is not safe.

‘We are expert generalists and the sole providers of continuity of care. We cannot continue to provide this unless the trend in funding is reversed. The government must match our dedication with funding and support.’

Dr Alan Mills, from Cambridgeshire LMC, described the situation as ‘nothing short of scandalous’.

‘Who else could provide the range of services that our patients have come to expect?’ he asked the conference. ‘And all at modest levels of funding. Maybe we are victims of our own success, but even we have limits.’

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