In Parliament today, Mohammad Yasin, the MP for Bedford and Kempston asked the Prime Minister about urgent funding for GPs after a doctor’s surgery in his constituency was placed in special measures.
On Monday (20 January), the Cater Street Surgery in Kempston – which serves 4,000 patients – was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The service was rated inadequate in four out of five areas examined by CQC inspectors in November.
In 2017 the service was rated as good.
Mohammad Yasin, who took the opportunity to confront the Prime Minister in this week’s Prime Minister’s Question time said, “I wanted the Prime Minister to understand that when you cut funding for the NHS, patient care suffers.
“Anyone trying to access GP services in Bedford knows how difficult it has become to get an appointment within a reasonable time.
“We need to look at what has happened in just two years for this decline in care to take place.
“General practice is the first point of contact with our health service for over a million patients every day, but it has been running on empty for too long.
“This is clearly a surgery struggling to cope with the decimation of primary care services under the Tory Government.”
Many of the failures identified by the CQC report related to a lack of resources: administrative tasks not being followed through by management and practices not receiving adequate training in areas.
But there were also safeguarding issue with the reliance on locums and a three-month “backlog” of new patient files.
“The Prime Minister insists he is investing record funding in the NHS, but the truth is, that prior to 2010, the long-term funding increases in the NHS were 4% per year.
“The Tories’ latest commitment is just over 3%. Not enough of the NHS budget is allocated to primary care and there have been huge cuts to social care on top.”
According to the BMA, 8 out of 10 GPs feel unable to deliver safe care.
The latest GP Patient Survey shows a quarter of patients now wait a week or more to see their GP. This number has almost doubled since 2012. And many of wait much longer.
Although GPs provide around 90% of all NHS contacts on a daily basis, the funding allocated for general practice was 7.1% of the total NHS budget in 2018/19 and falling.
Following Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Yasin said, “The Prime Minister is promising 6,000 GPs but the Government failed to deliver on its previous pledge in 2015 to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs.
“And as he knows, it takes many years to train a GP when we are in crisis now.
“The Prime Minister must support the GPs we have now which means reforming the pensions system to prevent senior clinicians cutting their sessions or leaving the profession early and listen to the Royal College of GPs who say they need to receive at least 11% of the NHS budget, to ensure the service is able to deliver the quality of care that patients expect.”
The CQC was asked for a comment, but did not respond in time for the deadline.