‘I don’t know of any doctor who believes the government’s plan’

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CONCERNS have been raised about health care staffing.

The Hampshire STP also proposes boosting access to primary care, which a Portsmouth GP believes will be driven by patients being able to access other surgeries.

Dr Nick Moore, from Craneswater Group Practice, said: ‘The idea of better integrating services locally does seem to be a sensible one.

‘In an era of ongoing financial pressure in the NHS, whether this sort of transformation can be achieved without a significant increase in financial resources however remains to be seen.

‘We have an ongoing shortage of GPs in the city and so our capacity to do more than we are already is limited to say the least. It’s very much a case of watch this space.

‘I think the 8am-8pm seven-day-a-week idea is going to be hard to deliver for the foreseeable future as the profession has been struggling to recruit new GPs and many towards the end of their careers are keen to retire rather than stay on.

‘I don’t know of any doctor who believes the government’s plan for 5,000 extra doctors in GP is actually achievable.

‘We can diversify and use other health professionals such as pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurse practitioners but there isn’t a pool of these lying idle either.’

He said an IT initiative in Portsmouth is aiming to get GPs on the same system.

Dr Moore said: ‘This is likely to mean that patients could be seen at locations other than their own practice when they are closed, as the current workforce shortage means that it would be impossible for all practices to deliver seven-day services themselves without cutting services in the week.

‘We need to be careful that a political sound bite about ‘a seven-day NHS’ doesn’t end up causing real damage to the existing struggling five-day service.’