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The Future of General Practice

You may remember that just under a year ago, Wessex LMCs highlighted a review of General Practice that was being undertaken by the Health and Social Care Parliamentary Committee:

“The Future of General Practice”.

This review has been chaired by the Rt Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP (before he became Chancellor of the Exchequer). Last year we worked hard to get anyone involved in the provision of General Practice to contribute to the report. We are very proud to report that Wessex LMCs was amongst the best represented areas in England as contributors to the evidence feeding into the report which was published on 11th October 2022. At the end of the document is a reference appendix, and it highlights that Wessex LMCs GPs, Practice Managers and Practices as groups contributed 91 of the 356 pieces of evidence considered. A huge thank you for taking the time to represent our profession. You can follow the link below to be taken to the report to read it in full:

The Future of General Practice Report

Although the press took from the report what they wanted, often reporting it with a negative slant regarding GPs, the report itself recognises the huge pressure which is present in General Practice for all staff. It has noted that General Practice is the most important part of the NHS, and that without General Practice the NHS will fail. Below is a link to the executive summary on our web page, but I thought we could perhaps highlight one of it’s final paragraphs:

“Finally, it is time to recognise the need to make the job not just manageable but once again fulfilling and enjoyable. General practice really should be the jewel in the crown of the NHS, one of the services most valued by its patients. For doctors it should allow a cradle to grave relationship with patients not possible for other specialties but for many infinitely more rewarding. To do that general practice needs to have its professional status restored with a decisive move away from micromanagement and short staffing to a win-win environment in which investment in general practice reduces pressure on hospitals and saves resources for the NHS”

Summary

This report sheds light on what is happening now in General Practice and recommends actions the government can take to make our working lives and environments more acceptable, allowing us to provide the care to patients that every GP aspires to.

It is heartening to read that the Parliamentary Committee recognises that GP Practices are offering more appointments than ever to patients, and with fewer whole time equivalent GPs delivering those appointments. Timely access to GPs as a political driver has led to decreased continuity of care, and the report highlights how this loss of continuity is partly to blame for a rising demand and a drop off in job satisfaction. There is a recognition of the use of locum GPs as a sole provider of care can lead to problems, but we must not lose the flexibility of a locum workforce in delivering capacity for our future. Moving forwards the Committee calls on government to abolish QOF and IIF, recognising them as tools of micromanagement, and there should be an aim to limit whole time equivalent list sizes per GP to 2500, with a forward view to reduce this to 1850. Wessex LMCs were also encouraged to read that the report highlights the values of the Partnership model and how this should be further strengthened.

We recognise the report findings, although they make sobering reading. We will watch with interest to see how the government responds and await confirmation of how they will address the issues raised

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Updated on Friday, 4 November 2022 152 views