The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has sent every Member of Parliament a copy of this powerful new book which focuses on the crisis facing general practice.
With 2024 an election year and the NHS a priority to the public, DAUK hopes Why Can’t I See My GP? The Past, Present and Future of General Practice will put general practice at the top of every manifesto.
Written by Dr Ellen Welch, a GP and past co-chair of the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), the book walks us through the state of general practice with passionate testimony from GPs who live and breathe the NHS.
Why Can’t I See My GP? outlines what the problems are, why we have reached this point, and offers some workable solutions.
Dr Welch said: “NHS staff are there day in and day out, and see what needs to be done to improve the current crisis, and we need those in power to listen to our stories, to visit local GP surgeries and appreciate the experience and expertise those on the frontline can offer.
“By sending a copy of the book to every MP, we want to speak directly to our policy makers in Westminster and raise the alarm to urge them to listen to the stories and experiences of frontline NHS staff.”
Why Can’t I See My GP? is full of personal accounts from GP leaders including Dr David Wrigley, the deputy chair of the BMA GP committee; Dr Lizzie Toberty, GP lead for DAUK; and Dr Paul Evans, GP and chair of Gateshead and North Tyneside LMC.
Other contributors include health writer Ellie Philpotts, broadcaster and commentator Roy Lilley, and Chris Milligan, the husband of GP Dr Gail Milligan, who took her own life in 2022, and Dr Aman Amir, a Merseyside GP whose surgery was subject to an arson attack.
If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by the length of time it takes to get a GP appointment, then Why Can’t I See My GP? is for you.
Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the British Medical Association’s England GP committee, said: “At a time when other national health systems are trying to create the British model of general practice this pithy polemic, deliciously served oven-ready in small, easily digestible portions will equip and empower the reader to question why our government is seeking to dismantle ours.
“This is essential reading for any of us who may want to justifiably know why the jewel in the heart of the NHS crown may be lost forever.
“As the saying goes, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’. Thankfully Ellen Welch presents us with elegant solutions.”
Dr Matt Kneale, co-chair of DAUK, said: “Dr Welch delves into the stark reality of why seeing your GP has become a struggle.
“Unveiling the systemic issues within the NHS through the lens of a seasoned GP, it lays bare the concerns many of us have tirelessly voiced.
“It’s not merely about the dwindling availability of GP appointments, it’s about the unravelling fabric of a health service built for all.
“This book is essential reading for anyone who values the ethos of a universal healthcare system and the indispensable role of a family doctor.
“It beckons public awareness and action at a time when it’s most needed.”
Dr Phil Whitaker, GP and author of What Is a Doctor?, added: “The passion for delivering high quality medical care shines out from each contribution to this unique book, and is matched only by the perplexity at the disintegration of what has long been the jewel in the NHS’s crown – British general practice.
“If it is to be restored, some of the solutions will be found within these pages.”
Polly Morland, author of A Fortunate Woman, said: “A book that combines clear-sighted pragmatism with a keen and compassionate ear for the GP experience on the ground.
“A valuable contribution to an urgent debate.
“I hope the book finds many readers both within and beyond the medical profession — above all, among healthcare policymakers. Let’s hope they’re listening.”
Why Can’t I See My GP? by Dr Welch is published by Calon/University of Wales Press on 8 February. All royalties for the book are being donated to DAUK