WHILE it is positive to see an increase in investment, it is still not enough to ensure the sustainability of general practice and its capacity to meet the growing needs of patients.
NHS England should also be clear that today’s headline figure is not reflective of the money reaching practices and their patients – as it also includes drug reimbursement and other initiatives including services in A&E departments. Potentially misleading the public in such a way is not acceptable.
Today’s real investment figure of £10.2bn (an increase of 4.4 per cent since last year) represents 8.1 per cent of the NHS budget going to general practice – falling £3.6bn short of the BMA’s target of 11 per cent.
This is money that could be spent supporting practices and improving patient care at a time when surgeries are buckling under the pressure of increased demand, unmanageable workloads, and the rising costs of premises and indemnity costs.
A general practice supported by 11 per cent of the NHS budget could offer greater continuity of care to patients, and would be able to help deliver a more sustainable future for the NHS as a whole.
Despite ongoing pressures, GPs across the country are going to great lengths to provide high quality, person-centred care to patients in their area, many of whom will have a series of complex conditions.
Practices offer virtually unlimited access to this expert service to patients – with inadequate funding in return. While this represents great value for the Government, it is clearly not sustainable – or safe for patients – as demand for services increases.
The Prime Minister has outlined her ambitions for a long-term funding plan for the NHS. It is imperative that this includes a significant boost to general practice that meets the needs of doctors and their patients.
As the first point of contact many will have with the NHS, GPs continue to be highly valued by the public.
Recent research has shown that the vast majority of people are happy with the service they receive at their practice, but this is clearly at risk as the wait to see a doctor grows unacceptably long.
GPs share their patients frustrations, as is clear by the increasing number of older doctors choosing to retire early and trainees opting for other specialities.
Without further investment and a concerted effort to tackle this recruitment and retention crisis, it will be patients, as well as GPs, who will continue to bear the brunt.
Pollution fear for drivers too
From: Phil Moon, Lister Court, Ilkley.
I WRITE further to the article relating to air pollution and dementia (The Yorkshire Post, September 19). We hear so much about regional and roadside pollution generated by vehicles and the possible affect that this has on individuals living in such areas.
No mention of drivers and passengers in vehicles is ever stated. Surely a driver of motor vehicles, and the passengers of such, must be in far more danger?
What are the organisations and studies mentioned in the article doing in respect to drivers and passengers? Take, for example, a bus driver who could have been driving for eight hours a day for some 20 years.
Wild about these ideas
From: Fay Vass, Chief Executive, British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
WE are delighted to read lots of fantastic ideas and useful actions that could be taken to improve the situation for our wildlife, in the manifesto for wildlife, launched by Chris Packham (The Yorkshire Post, September 19).
We, of course, have a particular interest in the hedgehog, and fully support having hedgehog holes in new fencing (and creating them in old ones).
Hedgehogs need to travel around a mile at night, and that requires a lot of gardens! A CD case-sized hole is all that’s required to offer a useful connection for hedgehogs. If you can get your neighbours to join in so much the better, create a whole Hedgehog Street!
Chris says this is a people’s manifesto, and it truly is – together we can really make a difference.
Keeping the joy of writing
From: Mrs L Holroyd, Long Causeway, Stanley, Wakefield.
WHAT a joy to read that I am not alone in letter and postcard writing. We need to keep the handwritten word alive. Now, while I am pleased that women of a ‘certain age’ do write, is it only a female pastime? Do men write letters? I’m interested to know.
Long may we continue in our quest and I hope we inspire the next generation to never lose the joy of writing and receiving a handwritten letter.
From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
TIM Mickleburgh would like to see the Government increase petrol duty (The Yorkshire Post, September 19). They might be more inclined to do so if the fuel companies didn’t continue to raise their prices regardless of the price of crude oil.
From: Eddie Peart, Broom Chase, Broom Crescent, Rotherham.
“NOBODY was in charge of the railway timetables” (The Yorkshire Post, September 20). Whether Chris Grayling knew or not, he is responsible. Can you imagine the FA if they forgot to tell the players to turn up at the World Cup in Russia?