Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has urged the government to provide adequate resources and funding for GP services in the UK. This comes ahead of the publication of the NHS workforce strategy, with figures showing that 42% of GPs are considering leaving in the next five years.
Speaking on the Voice of Care podcast series hosted by healthcare expert Suhail Mirza, Mrs Hawthorne said: “It’s a real opportunity for the government to put its money where its mouth is and actually provide us with hope that we will be receiving strengthening of our workforce. Because really the bottom line problem is that we don’t have enough GPS, we’re not adequately resourced, we’re not adequately funded.”
The government has pledged to increase GP numbers by 6000 by 2025, however Mrs Hawthorne remains sceptical about their intentions. She added: “I think we take about 9% of the NHS budget. 10, 12 years ago it was 11%. So it’s gone down and it should be at least 11%, if not higher. The devil will be in the detail ….until we actually see the devil of what’s on offer and also what the government wants in return, because I’m very worried that the amount of emphasis that’s being put on access to general practice might actually give the killer blow to general practice, which would be awful.”
With GPs facing an unprecedented workload crisis, Mrs Hawthorne highlighted the need to find solutions to prevent GPs from leaving the profession. She said: “There’s an awful lot of paperwork that we’re being asked to do that really doesn’t require a doctor’s qualifications to do.”
Mrs Hawthorne also raised concerns about the recruitment of GPs from overseas, noting that many are facing discrimination and are leaving the UK to seek better work-life balances in other countries.
The episode featuring Kamila Hawthorne is available now on various platforms including YouTube, Apple, Spotify and the Newcross Healthcare website.