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RCGP: Government’s “living in cloud cuckoo land” on 7 day care

1 October 2015

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The government is “living in cloud cuckoo land” in terms of their plans for seven day care, Maureen Baker, chief executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), said today at the annual conference in Glasgow.

She dismissed the English Government’s preoccupation with seven day working as “living in cloud cuckoo land” and branded it a “recipe for disaster” with current resources.

“Mr Hunt you say ‘new deal’, but my message to you and Mr Cameron is this… If you don’t shore up existing GP care as your top priority, not only will you not get a seven day service, but you won’t have a five day service either – because you will have completely decimated general practice,” Baker said.

Dr Baker made five demands that she thinks could potentially put general practice on a secure footing for patients and GPs, including more resources and calling on Chancellor in England George Osborne to announce a costed plan to ensure general practice receives 11% of the overall NHS budget, including “an immediate injection of £750m of additional core funding in the next financial year”.

She also called for measures to be taken to stop the “brain drain”, including financial incentives to attract medical students to general practice, and sanctions for medical schools that fail to take robust action to route out bias against general practice.

Another demand was for less ‘red tape’, and an urgent rethink on the bureaucracy involved in Care Quality Commission inspections.

In terms of technology, she wants the latest technology and infrastructure in general practice, and increased use of mobile and miniature technology in practices.

Her fifth demand was “freedom to innovate” – with a focus on promoting GP-led new models of care.

Baker added: “General practice is the Obi Wan Kenobi of the NHS – our only hope, but this can only be the case with substantial investment in our service and thousands more GPs right across the UK. This is the only way we can transform our NHS so that it meets the changing needs of patients.”