DDA chairman Dr Richard West has written to The Times newspaper, criticising a failure by NHS England to rural proof primary care “recovery” plans.
The NHS England Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care implements a raft of measures including to expand pharmacy services to include oral contraception (OC) and blood pressure (BP) services, and independent prescribing by pharmacists of seven additional common conditions.
The letter highlights the failure of policy to consider the role of dispensing GPs in rural areas, and inadequate rural connectivity.
DDA concerns are supported by Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, who said: “The public need to be aware of what’s achievable – change is not going to happen overnight. Politicians think that promising faster access will improve services and win votes, but many practices are already struggling for lack of GPs and other clinical staff, particularly in communities with large numbers of patients with complex needs and disproportionate health inequalities.
“The only true solution is to increase numbers of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GPs, both in the short and long terms by training and retaining them – and we look to the long-awaited NHS workforce plan with anticipation, to see how this will be achieved.”
Read the letter.