Politicians must stop using the NHS as a “political weapon” at a time when the NHS is approaching a ‘critical point’, GP leaders warned today.
Speaking at the Conference of Local Medical Committees in London, British Medical Association (BMA) GP Committee chair Dr Laurence Buckman said the government “insists on denigrating” healthcare workers.
“Speeches, spin and sound-bites really aren’t going to achieve anything beyond a bit of political point scoring,” Dr Buckman said.
Despite current suggestions from the Health Secretary that failures in out of hours care could stem from the GP contract in 2004, the government’s analysis shows that causes are complex, Dr Buckman points out.
Jeremy Hunt’s latest suggestion that GPs should again be responsible for out of hours care, was badly received by healthcare leaders.
He said: “The headline response is to say it will all be ok if patients have named GPs.
“The fact is, GPs are undertaking more consultations per patient and we are diagnosing and treating more conditions than ever before. We believe real and lasting improvements to out of hours care are possibe, but only if we put a greater level of investment into primary, community and social care.”
General practitioners will not “shore up” a system that has been rendered unsafe by “meddling”, Dr Buckman claims.
He said: “We need to be fred from the oppression of box ticking and micromanagement. It’s time to reduce the huge, unnecessary GP workload so we have time to treat patients holistically.”
For more coverage of the BMA’s Local Medical Committee meeting, follow @lalah_springer on Twitter.