RCGP chair demands action from politicians on GP funding crisis

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker is hoping health secretary Jeremy Hunt will commit to significant action on the GP funding and recruitment crises, when he addresses the annual conference.

Dr Maureen Baker (Photo: RCGP)
Dr Maureen Baker (Photo: RCGP)

At last year’s event in Harrogate, Mr Hunt said he would like to be the ‘most pro-GP health secretary in a generation’ but Dr Baker said specific pledges were now required.

‘We have had a lot of focus on getting the message across and I think that has been heard. But how do
we turn that into appropriate action?

‘As the General Election approaches we need to engage with politicians and policy makers to try to
ensure those issues are addressed by whichever party is successful.’

Having recently delivered a petition of 300,000 signatures to Downing Street calling for increased funding for general practice, Dr Baker said the college’s Put Patients First campaign was having an impact. The RCGP has also produced a 10-point plan to save general practice.

GP partnership model at risk

But the Labour party’s election pledge to merge practices into hospital-led integrated care organisations does not bode well, with Dr Baker arguing that the plan would ‘destroy everything that is great about general practice.’

Chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens is due to address the conference on Friday, and Dr
Baker is hoping for a show of support for general practice.

But NHS England’s deputy medical director Dr Mike Bewick recently predicted that independent
contractor status would ‘probably be gone’ in ten years, and primary care would be talked about then
as ‘out-of-hospital provision.’

Dr Baker told GPonline: ‘We have had lots of opportunities to speak with them and have had very constructive engagement. What we have not seen is what they are going to do about it, and we will be watching that with great interest.’

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