BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul highlighted the crisis facing general practice in a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond as the government prepares to unveil its budget plans. He warned the Chancellor that numbers of patients waiting two weeks or more for a GP appointment had risen by more than 7% in the past five years, whilst eight in 10 GPs now say rising demand has left them unable to provide safe, high quality care. Increasing numbers of GP practices were now taking the ‘only course of action left to them’ and closing their lists to new patients, he said. Dr Nagpaul highlighted findings from the GPC ballot earlier this year that found 54% of GPs were prepared to take part in a mass closure of patient lists as a form of industrial action.

The BMA chair voiced concern about the GP crisis in a letter demanding significant new investment in the NHS. He warned the Chancellor that the NHS was ‘simply not coping with unprecedented patient demand against a backdrop of crippling financial restraint’. The BMA chair’s comments echo General Practice Committee (GPC)  Chair Dr Richard Vautrey’s warning at the first England LMCs conference earlier this month that funding currently on offer for general practice was ‘nowhere near enough’.

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