Letter from Herts and Beds GPs

We are very confused following Mr Cameron’s announcement promising “named GPs” and access to a GP seven days a week (Seven day surgeries, 30 September). This government has done nothing but criticise general practice for being unable to meet the needs of patients and yet has reduced the proportion of total NHS expenditure directed at general practice from more than 11% down to just over 8%. GPs have been taken out of their surgeries to undertake commissioning and management roles and all GPs now spend substantial amounts of time on supporting their clinical commissioning groups rather than seeing their patients.

Mr Cameron is proposing that another £400m will deliver his proposals. If £50m serves only nine areas how will £400m cover 211 CCGs? Who does Mr Cameron think is going to see the patients seven days a week from 8am to 8pm? Overworked doctors make mistakes. We’ve warned successive governments of impending recruitment problems; now we’ve reached crisis point – why choose to go into a career when the level of criticism from ministers is unprecedented? GP practices are not only finding it impossible to replace leaving GPs but they can’t find locum doctors either. So once again, we would ask, where are the doctors going come from? This is a disingenuous and unachievable pre-election guarantee from a government disinvesting in general practice. Dr Peter Graves Chief executive, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire local medical committee, Dr Una Duffy Chair, Bedfordshire LMC, Dr Jeremy Cox Chair, Hertfordshire LMC