The Daily Telegraph

Primary care can’t be fixed until GPS’ complaints are taken seriously


SIR – I agree wholeheart­edly with Dr Richard Loach (Letters, September 3) about the changes to general practice since 2004.

If we are led to believe that current GPS do not see patients face-to-face very much – or carry out home visits, or refer patients to hospital – the layman might wonder what they actually do during the long hours they say they work.

I suspect they are weighed down by the layers of bureaucrac­y imposed from on high, ticking boxes and filling out mostly unnecessar­y forms.

These compulsory activities do not contribute to treating patients. They are the reason that I retired from general practice earlier than I might have, some 13 years ago, after 33 years in a profession that had become unrecognis­able to me.

Not all change is for the better.

Dr Jane Watts


SIR – GP salaries are now roughly equivalent to those of a General (report, September 2). Has the world gone completely mad?

Robin Bullock-webster Lustleigh, Devon

SIR – Thousands of GPS worked seven-day weeks, delivering millions of Covid vaccinatio­ns, during the pandemic.

This extra work was complex and challengin­g to co-ordinate in addition to managing everyday patient care. The reported frustratio­ns with the triage and consultati­on models have not mentioned that they were mandated by NHS England.

GP partners who own and run surgeries continue to leave the NHS in droves. The reasons are clear: pay rises for their staff result in pay cuts for themselves of around 12 per cent; inflation and fuel price increases for privately owned surgeries lead to further pay cuts; and the NHS pension scheme annual allowance charges for establishe­d partners will see bills of 50 per cent of their net pay. The very GPS we need to run our surgeries are being driven into locum work, leading to fractured patient care.

We foresee practice contracts being handed back this winter as they become financiall­y non-viable.

Dr Katie Bramall-stainer

Chair, UK Conference of Local Medical Committees

SIR – Many encounters with our GP practice and the wider NHS have, sadly, been necessary over the past 12 months.

All have been excellent, with nurses going above and beyond, receptioni­sts being helpful and responsive, and GPS providing same-day consultati­ons, either face-to-face or on the telephone – including, most recently, an urgent appointmen­t with a fantastic locum who spent 40 minutes reviewing my medical history and making referrals.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we must do more to celebrate and support our medics, who have to work in a broken system.

Elizabeth Leeman Heronsgate, Hertfordsh­ire

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