NHS 'teetering on the brink' East London GPs tell Jeremy Hunt

Scores of East London GPs have signed a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens warning that health service funding for their area has fallen far behind the needs of patients.

More than 60 NHS staff - mainly GPs, but including practice managers and consultants - signed the letter to express their 'dismay' at the level of funding Tower Hamlets CCG receives.

The group warns that while the population of the area has surged by more than 12% over the past four years, the CCG's funding allocation has risen by less than 9% - effectively leaving the CCG £12.5m short of the funding it received four years ago.

The warning from London GPs follows warnings from GPs across the country that their practices could struggle to cope as winter drives up pressure on the health service.

GPonline reported last week that two thirds of GPs believe their practice will struggle to cope this winter. Meanwhile, 90% said the NHS as a whole would struggle to cope.

NHS funding

Figures published last week by NHS England appeared to confirm that the health service is already struggling with the worst of winter yet to come - 94.5% of acute and general hospital beds in England were occupied in the week to 3 December, well above the 85% target. GPs have warned this will create a knock-on effect for primary care.

The Tower Hamlets GPs say that the current funding formula for general practice fails adequately to recognise the impact of deprivation and the fast turnover among the population that primary care services in London support.

But they warn that although the formula must be updated, overall NHS funding must be increased to avoid 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

'We know that we are not alone in struggling to provide the healthcare that our population needs and deserves,' the GPs write. 'We know that all over England the NHS, both primary and secondary care, is teetering on the brink of collapse, often kept going by the goodwill of staff who go the extra mile due to dedication to the job.

'This situation is not necessary. We are the fifth largest economy in the world.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Patient receiving flu vaccination

GP practices denied funding to vaccinate their own staff against flu

GPs have hit out at NHS England over a 'maddeningly frustrating' failure to offer...

BMA junior doctor strike action in 2016

Junior doctors to be balloted on industrial action in early January

The BMA looks set to ballot junior doctors in England on industrial action in early...

BMA sign

BMA sets up first-ever ‘strike fund’ to support industrial action

The BMA is about to release £2m from its reserves to pay for possible ballots on...

Dozens of GPs with suicidal thoughts contact specialist service every month

A specialist mental health service for doctors is being contacted by dozens of GPs...

GP consultation

GPs demand this summer 'matched pre-pandemic winter'

General practice needs urgent support to cope with spiralling demand after appointments...

Talking General Practice

Podcast: Looking after GP mental health at a time of crisis

We speak to Dr Helen Garr, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, about the...