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BMA briefing on GP ‘challenges’ attended by 20 MPs

by Costanza Pearce
5 November 2021

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Over 20 MPs have attended a BMA briefing regarding the ‘challenges’ currently faced by GP practices.

Today’s virtual briefing also saw participation from ‘senior GPs’, the doctors’ union said.

Held as part of the BMA’s ‘Support your surgery’ campaign, the briefing aimed to ‘address the scapegoating of general practice in the media’.

It also aimed to ‘provide MPs with the facts about how general practice is meeting the needs of its patients, and what more Government must do to support GPs to meet the growing demands placed upon them’.

A BMA spokesperson told Pulse that ‘over 20 MPs and their staff’, from ‘across the political parties’, attended the virtual parliamentary drop-in event, which saw ‘helpful discussions’ on access to GP practices.

Topics included:

  • access to general practice;
  • what MPs could do to support their local GP practices, including tackling abuse;
  • what was missing from the Government’s recent GP access package; and
  • how recent statistics showed GPs are doing ‘more than ever’, despite ‘receiving insufficient resource and support to meet this growing demand’.

The BMA will follow up with MPs who attended ‘in the coming days’ to ask them to further support its campaign ‘both within Parliament and within their local constituencies’, the spokesperson added.

It comes as MPs have requested meetings with GPs to discuss access to practices amid the row over face-to-face appointments.

LMCs have also urged politicians from all sides to step in to help tackle soaring levels of abuse from patients.

It follows growing concerns that criticism from some politicians as well as sections of the mainstream media is a key factor behind the surge in abusive and aggressive behaviour towards GPs and practice staff.

Professor Martin Marshall told the RCGP’s annual conference that ‘malicious criticism’ of GPs from ‘some politicians’ and ‘certain sections of the media’ has been the ‘worst that [he] can remember in over 30 years as a GP’.

But the primary care minister last week said that the Government is not waging a ‘war on GPs’, amid the row over access to face-to-face appointments.

GPs were this week given until 14 November to respond to a BMA ballot asking what action they are prepared to take against NHS England and the Government’s access plan.

The BMA and some LMCs have advised GPs ‘not to engage’ with the access plan, while other LMCs are against the BMA action or still deliberating.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.