The BMA has said that the issues facing general practice are due to ‘Government failings’, and it is ‘no wonder’ many practices are straining to provide good patient care.
It comes as several national articles, published in national media on Friday, said that GPs in England are struggling to deliver ‘safe care’.
But BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘General practice went into this pandemic with too few family doctors, a limited wider workforce, inadequate spaces, and a tonne of unmet Government promises.’
And he said it was ‘no wonder that many practices are struggling to provide patients with the good care that GPs want to deliver, and that patients expect and deserve’ as ‘Government pledges to deliver more GPs remain unmet and as workload pressures now increase at an alarming rate due to the pandemic and the growing backlog of care’.
He added: ‘The current situation is grave; the profession is on its last legs and the Government must take this seriously and invest in general practice as a matter of a priority.
‘Not only are we seeing more and more of our already limited workforce leaving the profession due to burnout, but we are now at a point where patients will suffer if the Government do not urgently address the concerns that the BMA and many other medical bodies have been raising for far too long now.’
This followed RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall’s statement last week, in which he said that the ‘chronic shortage of GPs’ means safe care is ‘increasingly difficult to guarantee’.
Recent media coverage has also focused on a coroner’s report which raised concerns over patient deaths and the use of remote consultations during the pandemic.
In response, Professor Marshall defended GPs’ use of remote consultations and reiterated that the real issue in general practice is the Government’s ‘decade of under-investment’.
Professor Marshall also told MPs GP morale is at ‘rock bottom’ and that the wellbeing of GPs must be prioritised in future NHS reforms.
In an opening speech to the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting today, further said doctors will ‘not accept’ a return to the pre-pandemic chronically underfunded NHS.
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.