BMA committee chairman says GP services are at breaking point

Chaand Nagpaul
Chaand Nagpaul
John Knighton, medical director of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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FUNDING cuts and intense workload pressures are threatening services to patients and putting the viability of GP practices at risk, the leader of GPs will announce today.

In his keynote address to delegates, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA’s GP committee, will deliver a warning to the government that GP services are at breaking point.

It comes a week after The News revealed that many surgeries in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire are under pressure, with one practice in Portsmouth having a staggering 3,382 patients per GP.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We’re seeing record numbers of patients in general practice - 40 million more annually than five years ago, the greatest rise in any sector of the NHS, set to increase relentlessly with a growing older population, and tranches of care moving out of hospitals.

‘Yet despite this escalating workload, we’ve seen brutal disinvestment, with general practice’s share of the NHS budget dwindling in a decade.

‘We’ve similarly seen a relative reduction in the GP workforce, with the number of GPs as a proportion of all Drs in England reducing from 34 percent to 26 percent in two decades.

‘The simple fact is that demand has far outstripped our impoverished capacity, denying patients the care and access they deserve.

‘It’s therefore no surprise that even a government commissioned report last year showed GPs suffering record levels of stress, and a BMA survey showing that six out of ten GPs intend retiring early.

‘I call upon government to finally stop denigrating GPs as the problem, and to see us as the solution.

‘That in an NHS paralysed with austerity, it’s logical to invest in the unarguable cost effectiveness of general practice.’