Family Doctors all over England are in crisis (1,2).
We are amidst the largest ever sustained reduction in proportionate NHS funding (3) and there is a withdrawal from service provision in the wider NHS. The collapse of state funded social care, media ignorance & criticism, bureaucratic overload and pointless external inspections have created a toxic, dangerous and demoralising world for Family Doctors and their teams. Funding of Family Doctor services is now at a historic low. (4)
The government is dressing up Family Doctor funding cuts as “Equitable Funding”, where ALL surgeries nationally will have their contracts leveled down to circa £80 per patient, per year, by 2017 (5). This is dark-age funding that will not allow practices, however large, to employ enough GPs and nurses to meet burgeoning patient demand.
The reality is that huge numbers of local practices are, in effect, insolvent but yet to realise their fate as they’re run by doctors, not accountants. Surgeries across England are being expected to amalgamate and adopt new untried, untested and unknown service delivery models, with no transitional resources. Government agencies have a legal duty to consult with citizens on proposed service change. There does not appear to have been any form of public consultation for affected patients & communities nationally. Recently, a patient in East London successfully challenged similar cuts (GMS) in the High Court. (6) A patient in West Yorkshire has now filed for Judicial Review against the Government agency responsible for “Equitable Funding” (PMS) cuts. (7)
As Family Doctors we embrace transformational change but eschew the death of family medicine, the NHS and social care by dangerous & ruinous cuts of which our patients are totally unaware.
Family Doctor SOS supports the NHS Survival campaign group.
Our SOS is not just for Family Doctors and surgeries, but for the entire NHS and social care in England. There is urgent requirement for political honesty, cohesive national political leadership and public debate towards securing the NHS concept: free-at-the-point-of-need care regardless of the ability to pay. Albeit to a newly defined national health and social care service, with agreed scope and purpose and funding and taxation levels agreed and adhered to by all parties through to 2030.
If you want to fight for your local GP surgery, the future of the NHS and social care, please access our wider web-site, like & share our site on Facebook, Tweet with our hashtag #FamilyDoctorSOS and ACT now.