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NHS Must not be Eclipsed by Brexit During Election, Warns RCGP

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has called on politicians from all parties to use the General Election as a catalyst to fix the crisis in general practice and address a number of key concerns, including the status of EU workers in the health sector and pressures arising from staff shortages in NHS.

The college expressed concern that Brexit domination of the political agenda will mean that critical decisions affecting general practice and the future of patient care could be ignored or overlooked. It claims that patient safety could be at risk unless the status of EU workers is guaranteed and existing pledges to improve general practice are prioritised.

On 26th April 2017, the RCGP has launched its own election manifesto- Six Steps for Safer General Practice in the run-up to the General Election to safeguard general practice and patient care. Its manifesto sets out the essential demands of any new government to protect the future of general practice and the care it provides for patients.

Here are listed the manifesto set by the RCGP.

  • Delivery of the GP Forward View in England with an additional investment of £2.4bn per year in general practice by 2020.
  • Guaranteed status for EU healthcare staff already working in the UK.
  • By 2020 employ at least 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs, with more medical students choosing general practice as a career and improved support to retain GPs already working in general practice;
  • Long term measures to reduce medical indemnity costs to GPs.
  • The introduction of a ‘return to work’ scheme to boost the number of nurses and mental health therapists in GP surgeries.
  • Extend the GP specialty training from three to four years to accommodate for the increasingly complex health needs of patients in primary care.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of RCGP said that the future of general practice was too important to be “left hanging in the balance” while politicians concentrate solely on Brexit.

She further added that General practice is on a knife-edge and GP workloads are spiralling and patients are facing longer waiting times for an appointment because RCGP simply don't have the resources or enough doctors to provide safe care in the face of soaring patient demand.

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