RCGP chair demands 'bold new deal for general practice'

The RCGP will continue campaigning for increased funding for general practice until action is taken, the college chair Dr Maureen Baker told the annual conference in Liverpool.

Dr Maureen Baker (Photo: Pete Hill)

Dr Baker said general practice was a ‘fantastic job’ but under-funding, the shortage of GPs, and increasing demand, were pushing the profession to the verge of collapse.

‘What makes our profession so rewarding is getting to know our patients and their families but it’s getting harder in the current climate. The future of general practice is at stake and we must defend it.’

Dr Baker said general practice was like a ‘giant dam’, preventing the flooding of secondary and tertiary care providers, but she warned: ‘There has been a lot of rain and the water levels are rising.’

She said that the proportion of the UK NHS budget dedicated to primary care had now fallen to 8.3%, despite providing around 90% of NHS care.

‘The wall of the dam is now crumbling before our eyes. So far much of the damage has been hidden from the public view. GPs, nurses and practice teams have been absorbing the pressure by trying to do more and more with less and less.’

Dr Baker said it was encouraging that politicians were now talking publicly about the problems in general practice but warned that some of the solutions they proposed could further damage the service.

‘The college will not stop campaigning until the four governments of the UK take action to turn this crisis around. We need a bold new deal for general practice to transform the way the NHS works from the bottom up.’

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