Rachael Maskell MP for York Central and Member of the Health Select Committee has spoken about the GP crisis, on the back of the Health Select Committee Report into the future of General Practice.
While Government promised 6,000 more GPs by 2024, they have only recruited 1672 and less than half of these (717) are working full time, while more doctors are leaving or cutting their hours due to burnout, stress and to try and achieve a work-life balance. 58.4% of doctors in general practice are now working 3 days or less, however use the rest of the week to do administration or other things to do with their work, leaving just 23.2% of GPs now working full time.
Meanwhile, since 2019, demand on GP services has risen by an average 8.9% and for some even higher. The Health Select Committee has recommended that 1000 additional training places will be required each year to tackle the staffing crisis, and have recommended a 4 year GP training scheme to enable doctors to hone their skills. General practice must also look to the wider health team of specialist nurses, physios and mental health workers to complement the services that GPs are providing, something that is being rolled out in York.
Central to the Committee’s recommendations is to return to GPs carrying a list of patients. Currently 43.4% of people have a direct relationship with a named GP, 62% of the over 85s and just 39% of younger patients aged 16 – 24 years. The powerful evidence received by the Committee showed that where people have a named GP, then admissions to hospital fell, less people went to A&E and fewer people accessed services out of hours. However research by the British Journal of General Practice showed that for patients with dementia, that it reduced delirium and cut admissions, so important for maintaining people in familiar surroundings.
However the research from Prof. Steinar Hunskår of the University of Bergen, highlighted how 11 out of 11 studies showed how it was safer and better for patients to have a direct relationship with their GP, including reducing mortality, emergency admissions, risk and poor outcomes of between 25 and 30%
When GPs know their patients, not least when they have complex health needs, they are better able to analyse their health and address their holistic needs as well as leading to safer patient care.
Rachael Maskell MP said:
I recognise the incredible commitment of GPs and their dedication to their patients and want them to be empowered and re-invigorated in their careers. The Report of the Health Select Committee provides a pathway out of the crisis in General Practice and into better care. However Government need to heed this report and implement its recommendations, starting with a serious focus on funding and growing the primary care workforce and addressing the considerable pressures GPs and primary care staff are under.
I believe we have a great opportunity in York to make significant advances in care in the community and ensure that patients are at the very heart of the system. This is why GPs have dedicated themselves to care for us. We all know it is frustrating when services are under such pressure, but 12 years of underfunding in primary care by this Tory Government has taken its toll. Labour have committed to doubling the number of medical training places and growing the rest of the NHS workforce, so we can ensure the system is safe and works for everyone.