A local doctor who fears general practice is in ‘real danger of extinction’ is calling on patients to fight government plans for seven-day working.
Dr James Howarth, a partner at Spilsby Surgey, spoke to The Standard over concerns about how Prime Minister Theresa May’s intends to deliver a seven-day service to ease the pressure on hospitals.
He said: “General Practice is in real danger now of extinction, as is the NHS as a provider of equal care to all free at the point of delivery. Please don’t let this happen.”
Warning GPs are leaving the profession in droves he said: “We already have a 24-hour GP service for emergencies, which is Out of Hours. We work 11-12 hour days and deal with upward of 100 patient contacts a day.
“When our heroic colleagues in A&E are impossibly busy, for the same reasons, so are we. The NHS is at breaking point not because its staff are slacking off, but because it is starved of funding despite constantly increasing demand due to cost of an ageing population, the cost of new treatments, ever-increasing expectation and a decimated social care sector.”
His fear the Government’s vision for seven-day working is a hub of a group of surgeries that could be ‘many miles away’ is shared by Lincolnshire County Councillor for Spilsby Fen Victoria Ayling.
General Practice is in real danger now of extinction, as is the NHS as a provider of equal care to all free at the point of delivery.Dr James Howarth, partner ar Spilsby Surgery
She said: “Having fewer surgeries in a rural area like this would be a disaster. The lack of public transport and roads which are difficult to use due to poor maintenance means that local surgeries are essential. Determination to keep to an election pledge is all well and good, but if it means local surgeries being forced to close, then it is badly flawed.”
However, a Department of Health spokesman said: “GPs are doing a fantastic job, and we know they have their patients’ interests firmly at heart.
“As we have made clear, our vision is that by 2020 everyone will be able to access routine GP appointments at evenings and weekends, which is why we have committed over £500 million to improve access. We would encourage GP surgeries to work together in local areas to achieve this, as set out in our planning guidance.
“We are improving conditions for GPs by cutting red tape, paying some of GPs’ high insurance costs, increasing resources by £2.4 billion, as well as innovative new schemes to retain more GPs. Our latest figures show that we have more GPs in training now than ever before.”