“Put tax payers money where your mouth is,” the Family Doctor Association (FDA) challenged Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt today.
Following Hunt’s speech on Friday about the new deal for GPs, the association said that Hunt has got it the wrong way around asking for the profession to approve seven day access before he releases funding, and that we need to mend the current system before we expand it.
Dr Peter Swinyard, national chairman of the association, said that Hunt asking for an increased workload before he increased funding was not “joined-up thinking” and didn’t focus on what’s necessary for patients.
He said: “Using a static pool of doctors and spreading them thinner means there will be a bigger workforce deficit. We’re in the last year that we can rescue general practice. At the moment the whole fabric of the profession is crumbling, we need the foundations in there now before it’s too late.
“We need to fix the hole in the ship before we repaint it,” he said.
The FDA has issued a challenge to Jeremy Hunt, to first ask the cabinet to give primary care its real share of the NHS budget. Then GPs, general practice and the wider primary care workforce can focus on delivering his Government’s ambitions for healthcare delivery.
It said to redress the balance at least an extra £3.5 billion of investment is necessary to benefit patients who use primary care for 90% of their NHS engagement.
Swinyard said that this will save money on the health service budget in the medium and long term while improving patient satisfaction and GP morale.
“I challenge Mr Hunt to put our taxpayers’ money where his mouth is,” he said.