MPs to hold inquiry into primary care challenges

MPs have announced an inquiry into the challenges facing primary care.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, has previously said a seven-day GP service was 'unachieveable'
Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, has previously said a seven-day GP service was 'unachieveable'

The influential House of Commons health select committee is calling for submissions from anyone with an interest in the sector. 

The committee, which is chaired by former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (Con, Totnes), will examine issues including:

  • Quality and standards of care for patients
  • Demand and access, including out-of-hours access and proposals for seven-day services
  • Funding
  • Commissioning
  • Future models of care
  • Workforce, including recruitment, retention, training, skill mix, contractual models, workload and pay.

Dr Wollaston has was joined on the committee this parliament by a second GP, Dr James Davies MP (Con, Vale of Clwyd). 

Dr Davies told GPonline last month that he wanted to use his new position to champion the cause of general practice, including addressing the incorrect and negative perceptions of the profession among fellow politicians.

Dr Davies also raised questions over his party’s plans to ensure a seven-day service for every patient in England by 2020, telling GPonline there was still ‘a debate as to whether there will be that much demand for Saturday and Sunday appointments’. It would be a ‘challenge’ to find enough GPs to meet the demand, he said.

Dr Wollaston told GPonline in November that the plan was unachievable given the workforce crisis. The Devon MP said a 8-till-8, seven-day service would be ‘almost impossible to achieve’ in rural areas like hers.

Submissions to the inquiry must be made by 3 September and the committee expects to hear oral evidence in October and November.

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