RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes Lampard's open letter to leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart, Michael Gove and Dominic Raab also called on the candidates to commit to safeguarding the future of the NHS and delivering on the government’s commitment to recruit at least 5,000 additional GPs.
The letter argued that a no-deal Brexit ‘could have a significant impact on patient care by threatening the supply of medicines, medical devices and radioisotopes, and the recruitment and retention of vital EU national staff’.
The college called for the next prime minister to increase funding for frontline general practice to at least 11% of the NHS budget and ensure general practice is better able to retain experienced GPs.
General practice under strain
Professor Stokes Lampard wrote: ‘This is a transformational time for our country and the health service. General practice is the bedrock of our NHS. It is the first point of contact with the health service and is highly valued by patients.
‘But it is also under immense strain. If we are to meet the challenges of the 21st century and put the NHS on a sustainable footing, it is essential that the next government sets out a positive vision for the future of general practice and helps us realise the ambitions set out in NHS England’s long-term plan.’
Boris Johnson is currently the frontrunner in the leadership contest. A second ballot of Conservative MPs tomorrow will potentially further whittle down those in the running to be the new prime minister – candidates will need 33 votes from MPs to proceed to the next round.
A further series of ballots of MPs will happen on Wednesday and Thursday until the contest is down to the last two who will face a vote from Conservative party members. The new leader is due to be announced the week beginning 22 July.
Health secretary Matt Hancock withdrew from the race this weekend after receiving 20 votes in the first ballot of MPs. This morning he announced he would be supporting Boris Johnson in future votes.
In an article for the Times he said: ‘Having considered all the options, I’m backing Boris Johnson as the best candidate to unite the Conservative party, so we can deliver Brexit and then unite the country behind an open, ambitious, forward-looking agenda, delivered with the energy that gets stuff done.’