Concerns are growing over the future of general medical practice with the increasing pressure on NHS budgets and the rising demand from an ageing population. GP Practices are edging ever closer to breaking point.
Put Patients First is a campaign led by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), in conjunction with the National Association for Patient Participation (N.A.P.P.), to raise awareness of how general practice, which deals with 90% of all patient contacts is close to collapse.
On Wednesday 2 April 2014 West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper met with Aughton GP, Dr Simon Andrews in Parliament to discuss the Put Patients First campaign and his concerns about the future of NHS GP services prior to an RCGP Parliamentary reception.
In a drive to improve patient care the Put Patients First campaign is calling for an increase in general practice funding from 8.39% to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.
Speaking after the meeting, MP Rosie Cooper said:
"Having been involved in the NHS for 30 years and now as a member of the Commons Health Select Committee I understand the challenges the NHS is facing and I am deeply concerned about where it is heading. The implications for so many of a crumbling NHS are catastrophic. Usually the focus is on Accident and Emergency Services yet worryingly GP's are speaking out about the threat to frontline health services.
"We are seeing growing workloads, declining resources and massive pressure on all staff working in GP practices.
"For most of us our GP is the first stop when we have health issues. If our GP services are falling down it will have consequences right through the NHS, that cannot cope as it is. It was a pleasure to meet Dr Andrews and hear first hand of his experiences and the importance of the Put Patients First campaign.
"Despite all the talk about a patient-centred NHS from the Government, everything we hear points to anything but patient care being at the heart of how the NHS operates. This needs to change!"
Dr Simon Andrews from Aughton Surgery, Ormskirk, said:
"I appreciate Rosie meeting with me to discuss the real and significant pressures GP Practices are increasingly under, and personally I do have firsthand experience of work stress related illness as a result of this.
"Following our discussion I know that Rosie shares our concerns and understands how the quality of patient care is already being affected and of the need to urgently address the problems within General Practice."