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Government's £1bn boost for GP numbers slammed by contractors

Practice Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that the government is investing £1bn in training 2,000 more GPs “makes a national minor ailments scheme or massive programme of community-based pharmacists prescribers look cheap”, said one contractor

Contractors have slammed the government's decision to plough £1 billion into increasing GP numbers, claiming the money would be better invested in pharmacy services.


Health secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed his plans to train 2,000 more GPs - which the British Medical Association estimates costs nearly £500,000 each - in his speech at the King's Fund last week (September 12).


Mr Hunt set a target to increase the number of doctors entering general practice by 50 per cent and said the numbers may need to be increased even further.


A "more proactive" general practice would be vital to the success of the four-year strategy to improve patient care outside hospitals, argued health secretary Jeremy Hunt

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Mr Hunt argued that funding a "more proactive" general practice would be vital to the success of the government's four-year strategy to improve patient care outside hospitals. From April 2014, GPs will be accountable for ensuring vulnerable older patients receive the care they need, even if they are unable to provide it themselves.


Mike Hewitson, owner of Beaminster Pharmacy, Dorset, criticised Mr Hunt for failing to mention pharmacy in his speech. The sector could relieve the pressure on GPs if funded to do so, he stressed. "Suddenly a national minor ailments scheme or massive programme of community-based pharmacist prescribers looks cheap," he told C+D.


Mr Hewitson highlighted that pharmacy flu vaccination had been met with "fierce opposition" from GPs, despite their complaints of being overburdened with work. He called on the government to recognise the vital role pharmacy played and initiate "meaningful engagement" with the sector.


Aniruddh Patel, owner of Savages Pharmacy in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, suggested the money would be better spent encouraging GP surgeries and pharmacies to extend their opening hours.


Mr Patel said he opened until 8pm twice a week but it was "not 100 per cent viable" in financial terms and stressed that extra funding would enable more pharmacies to open late. "A lot of patients who need to be seen could easily come to a pharmacy out of hours," he told C+D.


PSNC head of NHS services Alastair Buxton agreed community pharmacy was an important part of transforming primary care. He said the negotiator had "pressed home" its vision and the need for a national minor ailments scheme in discussions with health minister Norman Lamb on Monday (September 16).


But boosting recruitment of GPs was probably required to address the "significant increase" in retiring GPs, he told C+D.


In his speech, Mr Hunt also stressed the importance of pressing on with plans to share electronic health records across different parts of the NHS. Earlier this month, he announced that the government would invest £1 billion to improve electronic records access for hospitals, GP surgeries and out-of-hours doctors.


Read Mike Hewitson's comment on Jeremy Hunt's speech here



How would you like to see £1 billion spent in the NHS?

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11 Comments

MESUT OZIL,

EVERY PHARMACY SHOULD be willing to open until 2100 every day of the week

In return the PSNC should negotiate a proper minor ailments scheme where patients can be directed to the pharmacy and not block the out of hours facilities...

The following should be included:

DICLOFENAC 5OMG max of 9 tablets
otosporin/gentisone hc
fucidin cream
fucibet
trimethoprim 200mg x 6
ventolin
codeine 30mg x 8
contraception - max of one cycle

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I'd revise the list somewhat but certain conditions, even at my level, can be easily identified and very little room for misinterpretation where there is a very narrow treatment plan. It makes for a strong case in pharmacy being a cornerstone in minor ailments.

MESUT OZIL,

Mr Hewitson highlighted that pharmacy flu vaccination had been met with "fierce opposition" from GPs
JUST LIKE A CONTRACTOR WOULD FIGHT IF ANOTHER ONE GOT PERMISSION TO OPEN A PHARMACY...WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

Aniruddh Patel, owner of Savages Pharmacy in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, suggested the money would be better spent encouraging GP surgeries and pharmacies to extend their opening hours.
PHARMACIES SHOULD BE FORCED TO OPEN EXTENDED HOURS OR FACE THE PROSPECT OF OTHERS BEING GRANTED A LICENCE..

MESUT OZIL,

Why would a government increase funding in a profession where contractors are fighting for more business. It doesn't make sense ploughing more tax payers money into pharmacy when there are people willing to open a pharmacy and provide more for less.
Would anyone pay a professional more money when the job can be done with the funding which is already in place....
I wish there was more money as a contractor but as population demands increase, we will be asked to do more for less....
I once again asked myself,
IF YOUR NOT HAPPY THERE ARE PHARMACISTS WILLING TO BUY
SELL UP OF S**T UP
LOCUMS DON'T HAVE THAT FREEDOM OF CHOICE....

MESUT OZIL,

You can disagree till the cows come home...:)

Which contractor would pay £30 per hr when he/can can get away with £19!!!

We are employed by the government...
Like it or lump it.....
They are fully aware that there's an over supply on pharmacists....

Ian Kemp, Community pharmacist

Talhah, your views on competition are interesting but I can't understand why you aren't targeting the closed shop that is GP services. There are lots of things that GPs do that could be done just as well, and more cheaply, by others if there was genuine competition. What input do GPs have in their 'flu' vaccine service for instance, why should they get the profit margin they do? I suspect you're not a pharmacist at all but a GP trying to get rid of community pharmacy because you're frightened that some day someone will wake up and smell the coffee and introduce genuine competition for services which pharmacy would win hands down [if there are any pharmacies left].

MESUT OZIL,

I can assure you I am a pharmacist.

You have cleverly side stepped my question.....
WHY SHOULD YOU BE IMMUNE TO COMPETITION?>
I agree that alot of services can be provided by pharmacists and this is where the PSNC has let us down.

Part of the problem is the MPHARM degree which fails to equip pharmacists with basic skills such as administering an injection....

MADNESS.....you do a 4 yr degree and one year of training but you can't administer an injection???? How can pharmacists provide further services when training is so lacking..
Why should pharmacists go on courses to supplement their knowledge. This should be covered in the degree...

A MUST FOR PHARMACY DEGREES...
More knowledge on diagnosis.
training on administrating injections
CPR -
advanced training on heart disease/diabetes/mental illness

This will equip pharmacists to take over future roles which were once carried by GPs..

O J, Community pharmacist

Conventionally across the globe, pharmacy is seen as a "business".
GP is seen as a "service". Hence, GP services will always be in a financial win-win situation.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

How about a what else you could get for the money letter written to the papers - minor ailments, Pharmacy management of diabetes, etc. Why do we never seem to fight back in public where it hurts the politicians? Is the timing of an extra 3 months of NMS a coincidence as a sop?

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Brilliant news. We need to bolster the clinical base and this is a good move which will undoubtedly address future gaps in the potential shortfall of GP's. A very prudent move by Hunt which ensures the government is never held to ransom by the GP workforce.

As for pharmacists moaning, well this is just prioritization of scant resources. The NHS has NEVER viewed pharmacy as a true part of the organisation. This just goes to prove it.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Furthermore, just look at the poor outcomes achieved by the PSNC. Pharmacy will only be used opportunistically by the NHS paymasters. PSNC putting a spin on services they negotiate are only done, because no other provider in their right minds would it.

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