More funding is needed as patients increase, says GP

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MORE money is needed for doctors’ surgeries if patient numbers continue to rise.

That is the message from Dr Richard Roope, a GP at The Whiteley Surgery, who feels the NHS needs to spend more on primary care.

Dr Roope has met Mark Hoban, Fareham MP, and Richard Brine, the MP for Winchester, to get them campaigning for more investment.

He met them both in Parliament last week and hopes they will get on board with the Put Patients First campaign – a campaign which aims to give adequate resources to doctor surgeries.

Dr Roope said: ‘To help handle increasing patient numbers, we need more investment.

‘There has been a drop in funding by the NHS for primary care but our patient numbers have increased.

‘The health service is doing a really great job because people are living longer.

‘But this means practices have more patients and workload increases.’

He added that investment is worked out on a patient-per-year basis rather than the services the surgery provides.

‘We are given fees per patient per year,’ he said.

‘This means that we only get paid for a patient and not how many times we see them.

‘So we could be seeing one patient five times throughout the year but we still only get that one-off fee.

‘We don’t get money based on the services we provide.’

Concern for the number of patients doctors were seeing was raised by Mark Hoban.

As reported yesterday, he found out that doctors in Fareham are seeing 700 more patients than the national average.

Nine of the 10 surgeries he investigated were above the national average of 1,850.

The Whiteley Surgery, on Yew Tree Drive, was third highest with patient numbers averaging out at 2,346 per doctor.

And with the potential new houses at Welborne and Newgate Lane, that number could rise.

Dr Roope added: ‘We already face 12-hour days and we are seeing patients non-stop. Major developments like Welborne could see more patients and not that much more funding.

‘That is the problem with the way the funding is worked out.’

For more information about the Put Patients First campaign visit rcgp.org.uk/campaign-home.aspx