GP leader speaks out against government plans

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

GP leader speaks out against government plans
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, has spoken out against the government’s pledge for seven day a week GP access.

During the election the government pledged people across England would have access to GPs between 8am-8pm seven days a week by 2020. It was also pledged that all people over 75 years old would get a same-day appointment. However, Dr Nagpaul has stated “the government must halt its surreal obsession for practices to open seven days when there aren’t the GPs to even cope with current demands. It would damage the quality care by spreading GPs so thinly, and replace continuity of care with impersonal shift work, and will reduce our availability for older, vulnerable patients.”

He has pointed out that there were 40 million more GP appointments annually than 5 years ago while the proportion of NHS funds spent in general practice is falling. The number of GP’s is also expected to fall dramatically in consideration of their age demographic with one in three stating they intend to retire in the next 5 years. Dr Nagpaul stated “It’s absolutely pointless promising 5,000 GPs within this parliament if we lose 10,000 GPs retiring in the same period.”

Dr Nagpaul has also spoken out against the new CQC ‘Ofsted-style’ rating system stating that practices live under “fear and threat”. He stated that the CQC had “mushroomed into an industry of flawed performance management” and that the government must “end the punitive overregulation that’s suffocating general practice – amongst the top four reasons why GPs want to leave the profession.” He highlighted that UK GPs were subject to more scrutiny and performance management than any other nation studied by the Commonwealth Fund.

Whilst the intelligent monitoring bands, applied by CQC as part of the trials for its new inspection regime, have since been scrapped, practice ratings continue to be applied with GP surgeries being rated by CQC as either ‘Good’, ‘Outstanding’, ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’. He stated that “CQC needs to get back to basics of keeping registration simple, abandon ratings and plough the millions saved into patient services instead.”

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