Government NHS policy ‘repackaged’

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Published: Monday 22nd June 2015 by The News Editor

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Government proposals to attract new GPs are “old, repackaged ideas distracting from the central issues”, the head of the doctors union is expected to say today.

Dr Mark Porter will tell delegates at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual representative meeting in Liverpool, that measures outlined by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Friday will not solve the problem of a mass shortage of GPs at the same time as the Tories strive to make the NHS a truly seven days a week service.

“While the Government talks about GPs doing more, thousands already work in out-of-hours services, propping up the NHS,” Dr Porter will say.

“The Government is trumpeting its ‘new deal for GPs’.

“Who are they kidding? These proposals are neither new nor a deal, but old, repackaged ideas distracting from the central issues.”

Dr Porter is also expected to talk about how the Government has promised 5,000 new GPs by 2020.

“How will these new GPs be ready to start work in five years’ time when it takes 10 years to train a GP?” he will say.

“How are they even going to recruit more GP trainees when hundreds of existing training posts are still unfilled? They don’t say.

“When will they provide substance over rhetoric and recycled ideas, to focus on the detail of how they will support GPs already burnt out from overwork, in a service where more than 10,000 GPs are predicted to leave in the next five years? They don’t say. “

Dr Porter will also reaffirm the BMA’s position on seven-day hospital services – that patients should have access to high quality healthcare whenever they need it.

He will urge the Government to explain the finer details of its proposals and stress that doctors also want the best for their patients, whether during the week or at the weekend.

“Show us something real, because all we’ve seen so far is the pursuit of easy headlines,” he will say.

“In recent weeks, we’ve been promised a massive expansion of NHS services.

“Along with colleagues in other healthcare professions we deliver those services, so we’re asking: ‘how?’

“Let me be absolutely clear where the BMA stands on the issue. Doctors want the care we provide for sick patients to be of the same high standard, seven days a week.

“Despite the lazy caricatures, last weekend, next weekend, and every weekend since we’ve had the NHS, we already have doctors of every level of seniority working in our hospitals in acute, emergency and urgent services.

“But ask any doctor and they will tell you that the NHS has never been resourced the same on Saturday and Sunday as it is from Monday to Friday.”

Mr Hunt announced a recruitment drive on Friday to secure a “dramatic” 10% increase in GPs, in a move to deliver the seven-day service.

The Health Secretary said he wanted to create flexibility for working patients and allow vulnerable people to have longer appointments, as he encouraged medical graduates to become family doctors.

He said general practice was more important now than ever before as the NHS faced unprecedented pressures due to its rapidly ageing population and patients with increasingly complex needs.

Published: Monday 22nd June 2015 by The News Editor

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