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Why You Should Back General Practice
I received some literature and patient information posters from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) last week, asking Practices to support and highlight their ‘Put patients first: Back general practice’ campaign. The aim is to raise awareness of the impact that the immense pressures facing general practice are having on our patients and staff.
The campaign, launched by the RCGP and the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) back in November, is calling for urgent action to address declining resources and ever increasing workloads in GP surgeries across the country.
Ultimately they are calling for the UK governments to increase funding for general practice from 8.3% to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017. By shifting about 1% of the NHS budget into general practice per year for three years it is possible to transform services for patients with a positive impact on the NHS as a whole.
Strains on Funding and Stress on Staff
All too frequently hospitals are the default place to go when patients are unwell but there are many things currently carried out in hospitals that could be done and are already being done in a GP surgery, often more cost effectively and more quickly. However, whilst GPs are being expected to deliver these services the money is not necessarily following the service. The drop in funding is compromising the standard of care that GPs can offer patients, leading to longer waiting times and increasing pressure on hospitals. The decline in funding for general practice comes despite the fact that general practice carries out 90% of all contacts across the NHS.
Some GP’s have even complained of exhaustion and this of course results in them and colleagues suffering which in turn impacts on patient care. There needs to be more GPs available and the funding to employ them, but a potential 15% drop in GP training applications is set to exacerbate the problem.
Support the Campaign
I believe we have much to be proud of in the NHS and we need to support this campaign to help safeguard patient care in general practice.
Dr Baker, Chair of the RCGP said the amount of support from other organisations, patients, GPs and politicians has been overwhelming. Patients are being encouraged to support the Put Patients first: Back general practice campaign by writing to their local politician. This week’s campaign update comes from Dr Paul Myres, Chair of the RCGP Wales with the developments from the Welsh campaign team.
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