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DDA chairman writes to the Times over GP nationalisation plans

Another example of urban centric policy-making

February 1st 2022

Tagged: DDA news

By Dr Richard West, DDA chairman

DDA chairman Dr Richard West has submitted a letter to the editor of the Times regarding reports of plans to nationalise GPs.

 In the letter, he writes:

Dear Sir,

Once again, health policy is being developed by, and for, people who live in towns and cities (GPs nationalised in Javid plan to reduce hospital admissions, Saturday 29th January).

There are GP practices in remote and rural areas, like mine, that serve 100 square miles and where the nearest hospital can be over 25 miles away.  We have no public transport, broadband at dial-up speed and are lucky to get a 3G signal; before certain operators decide to switch off their masts in a few years’ time.

Many rural practices also dispense medicines where patients live more than 1.6km from the nearest pharmacy. They pre-date the NHS.  Where do they fit into Mr Javid’s plan?  Perhaps he could inform the three dispensing practices in his own constituency.

Investment in GP services has declined over the last decade, to the benefit of hospitals.  Along with the pandemic, this is the cause of our current problems.  What happened in Wolverhampton occurred due to years of underinvestment in adequate premises, the impending retirement of many of the GPs and a good local hospital ready to help.

We need investment in local practices, workforce, and ‘rural proofing’ of policy, not more pointless structural reorganisations.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Richard West MBE,

Chairman, Dispensing Doctors’ Association