We recognise that general practice’s share of NHS spending has fallen hugely in the past few years, and workload has soared. Both sides of this have to be addressed.
Therefore, we seek:
1. A commitment to reverse the disinvestment in general practice, so that by the end of the next parliament, the proportion of NHS funding spent in general practice has increased to reflect the large amount of work that has moved into general practice in recent years without any funding.
2. A commitment not to put more work into general practice without adequate funding – and explicitly, acceptance that the dishonest habit of rebadging existing money, or taking away money and offering it back for more work, does not constitute new money.
3. Agreement that whilst convenience of care for the more able is an acceptable aim, this must never be at the expense of access and continuity for the less able, and those who require care most.
4. Recognition that the unlimited growth of demand makes it almost impossible for general practice to contribute fully to the needs of a population that has growing numbers of elderly patients and those with long-term illnesses. To address this, there must be a concerted campaign to encourage self-care of minor illnesses. GPs must stop being the default solution for all manner of problems – medical, social or administrative.
5. Recognition of the impossibility of continuing with growing expectations of, and demand on the health service as a whole. We call upon all parts of society to engage in a rational debate about what we want from healthcare and what we can realistically afford as a nation.
6. Recognition that diagnosis of serious illness takes time and may not be possible early.