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GPs warn £400m funding shortfall will destroy care

Con-Dems under fire after financial gap exposed

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said yesterday that Con-Dem wrecking of the NHS means GPs are facing a £400 million shortfall

The college revealed data which it said shows “the shocking extent of successive under-investment” in general practices, which deal with 90 per cent of patients.

It said the shortfall was having a “disastrous effect on patient care” and warned of a looming “catastrophe” unless urgent action is taken, with doctors already exhausted after working regular 11-hour shifts.

And it called on the government to plug the gap, arguing that the amount spent on general practice per person in England has dropped 7 per cent in real terms due to funding cuts and population growth.

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: “Our figures should send out a warning to government and the rest of the NHS that we will soon have a catastrophe on our hands if urgent action is not taken to reverse the decline in funding for general practice and provide GPs with an appropriate amount to spend on each patient every year.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted surgeries to be open from 8am-8pm seven days a week to counter complaints that working people find it hard to get seen by a family doctor.

The Royal College is holding its annual conference in Harrogate in North Yorkshire, where it released the data.

It said more than 90 per cent of patient contacts within the NHS are carried out in general practice yet it receives only 9 per cent of the entire NHS budget.

Dr Gerada said: “For years politicians, health professionals and patients alike have been saying that we must shift the centre of gravity of the health service away from hospitals, with more care delivered to patients closer to home, and a greater focus on prevention.

“But these figures show that we are in fact moving in the opposite direction.

“GPs are keen to do more for their patients but we are heaving under the pressure of ever-increasing workloads and diminishing resources, including a chronic shortfall of GPs.”


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