Analysis by the Royal College of GPs suggests that over the past three years, investment in general practice has fallen by £400m in real terms. That is equivalent to a 7% cut in spending per patient, it says. The government said it was providing new funding to help under-pressure GPs, but Labour said the figures showed ministers’ promises had not been kept. As GPs gather in Harrogate for the royal college’s annual conference, its chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said the cuts meant doctors were being required to do more work with fewer resources, damaging services for patients.
The warning comes in the week ministers said they wanted to extend GP surgeries’ opening hours. On Tuesday, the prime minister said he wanted more patients to be able to get help in the evenings and at weekends, as he set out details of a £50m pilot programme in nine areas of England to widen access. But the college said the analysis – based on official data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre – showed the government was taking money away from GPs despite claiming it wanted to move care away from hospitals.
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