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GP’s dire warning to patients as funding crisis leaves system broken

Posted on - 14th June, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Chorley News, Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Dr Adam Janjua
Dr Adam Janjua

A doctor has issued a dire warning over the future of GP practices in Lancashire amid financial pressures which have seen a 20% reduction in the number of partners in the county in just three years.

Dr Adam Janjua is the chief executive of Lancashire and Cumbria LMCs, the body which represents GPs and practices across the region, including those in Preston and South Ribble. He told Blog Preston that practices are facing huge pressures with dramatically rising costs and no way of increasing income.

He has joined other LMC leaders in issuing an open letter calling for the leaders of Britain’s main political parties asking them to focus on general practice during the 2024 general election. They want to see GP practices given a fairer share of NHS funding, greater freedom to allocate their own spending and resources, and the creation of a plan to retain GPs.

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Without intervention, Dr Janjua fears that many practice leaders will be left with no choice but to simply close down amid rising demand and costs. He said: “When you look back, even if you go to 2019, we are, year-on-year, seeing 10-15% more patients per month.”

According to Dr Janjua, GP surgeries have increasingly been tasked with taking on more work as a result of hospital waiting lists, from extra tasks like blood tasks to repeat visits from patients who remain stuck waiting for procedures. This group, he said, makes up 25-40% of patients on GP’s lists.

Meanwhile, funding allocations are also a source of frustration for those running GP practices. At Dr Janjua’s practice in Fylde, electricity bills have risen from £14k a year to £48k during the cost of living crisis, with inflation also affecting every other aspect of the business.

Meanwhile, staffing costs take up 75% of the entire budget. He said: “We love our reception staff and think they deserve a lot more than minimum wage but unfortunately that is all we can afford right now.”

According to the doctor, the share of NHS funding received by GPs has fallen in recent years and this is one of the things that the Rebuild General Practice campaign is wanting to address. Dr Janjua has spoken out about the pressures facing GPs on multiple occasions and told Blog Preston that “patients and the public are hoodwinked by politicians” who complain about issues such as GPs holding phone appointments rather than face-to-face ones.

He said: “Our people are speaking out about the funding. That comes I think from political mismanagement and that’s why we want them to stop the political football because there are real people involved.”

The open letter warns that general practice is “broken”, with not enough doctors to treat patients and “unbearable working conditions” causing record levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Explaining how the public can get involved, Dr Janjua pleaded: “The most important way is to hold politicians to account. When they knock on your door, ask probing questions. Git a little deeper than they say ‘we’re going to build some more hospitals’ but there’s nothing deeper to it.”

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