A few thoughts on the government’s GP rescue plan announced today….firstly they are right to address crisis in this sector. Some good ideas including a new NHS covenant modeled on the military and more transparency about performance.
BUT, as someone who tried & failed to get 5000 more GPs into the system, I don’t think this package will turn the tide. We got 000s more graduates into GP surgeries, but we didn't make progress because experienced GPs were retiring/going part time faster than new trainees arrived
The lesson? This is a burnt-out workforce running on empty because of a massive mismatch between supply & demand.  The only thing that will convince them not to continue retiring or opting for part-time hours in droves is a clear plan to end the unsustainable pressure they face.
That means in the short-term a big recruitment drive: incentives to persuade retired GPs who stepped up temporarily during the pandemic to extend their service; relaxation of immigration rules on overseas medics…
…incentives to move here including waiving bureaucracy for people moving from countries with good medical training e.g. Canada/Australia, and reform of pension disincentives which drive people into early retirement.
But sticking plaster after sticking plaster will no longer cut it. Unless we fix workforce planning in the NHS for the long term, the future will be bleak and the number of face to face GP appointments will go down not up.
That means most of all overhauling broken workforce planning with an independent system - modeled on something like the OBR - to ensure transparent, public projection are made about the number of clinicians we should be training in every specialty.
If we continue to leave that process to back-room haggling between Treasury and DH ministers in spending reviews, it will never get the focus it needs - and the crisis will just get worse.

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More from @Jeremy_Hunt

12 Oct
Today’s report is most important my Select Committee has done. Taken over a year with lengthy evidence sessions (7 hours in the case of Dominic Cummings) but shows, I hope, parliament at its best as we deliver far reaching conclusions about our pandemic response…
Recommendations significant for 2 reasons: 1. unanimous agreement by 22 x-party MPs - as non-partisan as it’s possible to get. 2. Will be most comprehensive independent study ahead of public inquiry that may not publish for several years.
We conclude that our national response was a curate’s egg of disastrous mistakes and extraordinary genius. The first lockdown was too late & based on flawed scientific advice which should have been challenged earlier.
Read 12 tweets
14 Sep
As health select committee chair most of the time I focus on holding the Govt to account on health. But occasionally opposition parties need to be called out too - never more so than today….
It’s outrageous that Lab & Lib Dems will vote against £12bn extra for the NHS & soc care after the year we’ve had. This is politicking of the worst kind because the crisis in the NHS & care system is real. Any wealth tax v unlikely to raise the sums needed for ageing population.
But even though it was tough for a Conservative PM & Chx to raise taxes, what comes next - turning money into results with proper reform - will be even tougher. Having dipped our hands into their pockets voters will be very angry if they don't see tangible improvements fast.
Read 10 tweets
19 Jul
Lots of noise on social care and a possible new tax to pay for it...my thoughts in this thread.
It’s progress that the soc care debate has moved on from 'whether' to 'how.' This isn’t just because it wld breach the PM's words on the steps of Downing Street, but a growing realisation that with the Covid backlog we’ll never get the NHS back on its feet without soc care reform
Let's take as starting point the HSC report which said the sector needs min £7 bn annual raise in its budget over 4-5 years. This covers a cap, demographic changes and increases in the national living wage but not a big expansion of quality or eligibility committees.parliament.uk/work/136/socia…
Read 13 tweets
16 Jun
Here’s an early take on our two bumper select committee grillings over the last two weeks - Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock. A thread...
There was more melodrama than normal but it is not possible to stack up the most sensational revelations without evidence. Today's new @Dominic2306 tweets show the PM's total frustration ('f***ing useless' etc.) but do not prove anyone 'lied.'
Personal accusations are of course the most media-friendly but should not expose the much more serious failures in the functioning of the state in a national emergency, including  key revelations about both scientific advice/herd immunity and test and trace.
Read 17 tweets
29 Apr
Big news for the NHS that Sir Simon Stevens is stepping down. A thread...
When we recruited for a successor to Sir David Nicholson in 2013, there was a good deal of trepidation about the role following controversy over the 2012 Act. Simon, however, was the standout candidate and hiring him remains one of the best decisions I have ever taken.
Despite his time as a special adviser in No 10 and in the private sector in the US, SImon has always been NHS to his core. But neither he nor I knew just how bumpy things would become with immense operational and financial pressures across the NHS and social care system.
Read 8 tweets
28 Apr
Hospital acquired COVID-19 remains a major problem as it STILL accounts for 15% of COVID hospital patients: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… It remains the biggest undiscussed problem in the pandemic to date: a thread.
It was even worse: a paper by PHE and LSHTM for SAGE in January stated that 20-25% of infections in hospital patients in the first wave were hospital acquired: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl…
Upper estimates of this data suggest that around 36,000 cases in the first wave were caught this way which could mean 8,000 deaths related to hospital acquired COVID occurred in that wave: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9…
Read 9 tweets

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