DAUK in The Times responding to Healthwatch report about GP access

Sir, Your report “More patients go to A&E after ‘struggling to see GP’ ” (Apr 17) is a huge concern, confirming that the health of the nation is suffering as general practice is drowning. Our experience as frontline GPs is that demand is going through the roof. Compared with pre-pandemic levels, primary care — GPs and community services, rather than “secondary care” involving hospitals and specialists — is offering a million more appointments per week while carrying out 75 per cent of all Covid-19 vaccinations and the largest ever flu vaccination programme to date. The introduction of online consultations has made us more accessible than ever. However, general practice has been consistently underfunded over the past ten years. At present primary care accounts for 90 per cent of NHS patient contact time, but receives 10 per cent of the budget. GPs are burnt out and working beyond full capacity. Despite this, if we are clearly not meeting the needs of our population there must be an urgent review to find out why, and a national discussion on how we want to fund our health service.
Dr Ellen Welch
Dr Lizzie Toberty

Doctors’ Association UK

Read the letter here