Unite union backs GP magazine's call for general practice support

The UK's largest trade union has given its backing to GP magazine's call for political parties to support general practice ahead of next year's general election.

Dr Ron Singer, chair of the Medical Practitioners’ Union at Unite, said the government had 'starved' practices of funding (Photo: Nathan Clarke)
Dr Ron Singer, chair of the Medical Practitioners’ Union at Unite, said the government had 'starved' practices of funding (Photo: Nathan Clarke)

Unite, which counts 100,000 health workers among its 3m members, including several hundred GPs in its Medical Practitioners’ Union (MPU), said it ‘fully supports’ the initiative launched by GP earlier this month.

The GPC, RCGP, NHS Alliance, National Association of Primary Care and Family Doctor Association all lent their support to the call for politicians to show they value general practice.  

Unite’s national officer for health, Barrie Brown, said: ‘This government said it was placing GPs at the heart of its massive and unwelcome health service changes, but it has reduced overall spending on practices and wants to withdraw MPIG - a crucial support to many practices in deprived and rural communities.’

Dr Ron Singer, a retired GP and chair of the MPU added: ‘The only way to see this contradiction is that the government used GPs to get their NHS changes through whilst in reality starving general practice of funds, provoking practice failures and closures ready for the private sector to take over practices at knock-down prices. Shameful.’

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have both responded to GP’s call with statements from shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and care minister Norman Lamb setting out their support for GPs.

Unite is running its own campaign against NHS privatisation and has been supporting the East London Save Our Surgeries campaign against the effect of funding cuts.

The union began balloting health workers for industrial action over pay this week. MPU members are considering calling for GPC to ballot GPs over strike action against government funding cuts. 

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