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DH and NHS England branded “complacent” by MPs over GP staffing

9 March 2016

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The Department of Health (DH) and NHS England (NHSE) “have been complacent” and “failed to ensure that staffing in general practice has kept pace with growing demand,” MPs argued yesterday.

In a House of Commons report, a mix of 15 MPs from different political parties agreed that the two main health bodies in England have been complacent, defined as “showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements,” by the Oxford English dictionary.

The DH and NHSE only “now seem to recognise the urgent need for action and they envisage significant changes in general practice over the next few years,” the report from the Committee of Public Accounts stated.

“In recent years the Department of Health and NHS England have failed to ensure that staffing in general practice has kept pace with growing demand. They appear to have been complacent about general practice’s ability to cope with the increase in demand caused by rising public expectations and the needs of an ageing population, many of whom have multiple health conditions,” it read.

Key recommendations from the report:
Building on the workforce action plan, the Department, NHS England and Health Education England should:

·      Set out how they plan to reduce the number of GPs leaving the profession early, informed by analysis of the interviews with older GPs.

·      Set out how they plan to attract more GPs to return to practice, and how they will monitor progress.

·      Establish which incentives work best in attracting new recruits to general practice.

·      Report back to the Committee of Public Accounts by December 2016 on the three points above and on progress towards having 5,000 more doctors working in general practice.

See the full report here.