The latest move by NHS chiefs to reignite the GP profession represents a huge shift that will reverse the industry’s struggles, which date back to 2004, says Dr. Helen Stokes-Lampard, spokesperson for the Royal College of GPs.
Her comments come on the back of the news NHS chiefs have announced a five-year plan, which will see £2.4billion a year injected into NHS services by 2020.
The deal will pay for 5,000 more GPs, relieving the pressure in a significantly undermanned profession.
Stokes-Lampard claims the deal is a much needed boost given the devastating effect the UK economy has had on the profession.
She said: “The agreement [GPs original lucrative contract with the government] actually dates back to 2004, and a huge amount has changed in that time.
“We’ve faced financial austerity, huge cuts to the NHS, and particularly funding for GPs has fallen consistently for the last decade. Practices are closing all over the country and going bankrupt.
“This [new deal] is about getting more doctors, pharmacists and nurses and getting more resources. We need to work together. It’s going to take time to see changes on the front line, but it is possible. Suddenly the tide is going to start turning.”
Stokes-Lampard also rejects the notion from critics of the original deal that GPs get an easy ride, stating: “There’s a lot of myths out there [about the life of a GP]. A normal working day for me is a 14-hour day. It’s a hard job, and a job that requires a lot of dedication."
She also emphasised the benefits the new deal will bring to patients across the country.
“New innovation, new software, better facilities, we just can’t afford it at the moment. All these things will help [thanks to the new deal].
"What we want to do is create the time and space for those good quality face to face consultations but then deal with the more straightforward stuff [coughs and colds that may delay more important issues] in the most efficient way.
"We're all in the NHS together."