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Government must end “surreal obsession” with 7-day practice, says GPC chair

21 May 2015

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Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the General Practice Committee today said the government’s plans for seven-day practice are a “surreal obsession” during the current GP shortage.

“If the government claims to have any clue about the plight of general practice it must thwart its surreal obsession with getting practices to open seven days when there aren’t even the GPs to meet the current demands,” he said at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Local Medical Association (LMC) conference in London.

“Now the election is out of the way I call upon the prime minister… to get real about how we resource, resuscitate and rethink general practice. It’s absolutely pointless promising 5,000 extra GPs within this parliament if we’re going to lose 10,000 GPs retiring in the same period,” Nagpaul said.

He also said that general practice has been neglected by the government for years and progressively un-funded. He recommended that any government action starts by addressing GPs workload, which he branded “excessive, inappropriate,” “punishing” and the main reason GPs are leaving the profession and medical students don’t want to fill those spaces.

Later in the conference it was proposed a possible solution for the shortage could be an intermediate level in general practice for experienced GPs who are not fully qualified. However this was dismissed by voters and Simon Minkcroft from Hertfordshire deemed this “a dangerous motion that will set general practice back decades”.