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by Ian Shires on 19 May, 2024

Saturday saw GPs from across the West Midlands take part in a peaceful demonstration in Birmingham city centre.

55 hours is standard - it's a recipe for burnout': We asked protesting GPs about issues they face | Express & StarGPs from across the West Midlands are taking collective action to shine a light on the crisis in general practice.

A peaceful demonstration in Birmingham city centre was attended by GPs from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, North and South Staffordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Telford, Solihull, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire.

They were joined by patients who are feeling the effects of a neglected general practice in their communities. Together, they are calling on politicians from all parties to make fixing general practice an urgent priority.

Workload has been steadily rising in general practice over the last decade whilst the GP workforce has significantly depleted. There are currently 1,900 fewer GPs than 2016, when the Government promised to recruit 6,000 additional GPs in its 2016 manifesto. Over the same period GPs have seen an increase in patient numbers of 6 million on their books. 106 surgeries have closed in the last year alone, and GPs are leaving the profession in droves due to the unsustainable workload.

About Us – Cannock North PCNDr Manu Agrawal, GP in Stafford, and Secretary of West Midlands LMC Group said:

“General practice should be at the heart of every community – keeping patients safe and providing strong foundations for the rest of the NHS. But a decade of neglect and under investment along with over regulation, micromanagement and bureaucracy have broken the entire system. As the GP workforce shrinks and practices close down across the country, GPs in the West Midlands are today speaking with a united voice. We are calling on government to work with us and commit to addressing the current GP crisis.”

GPs to protest in Birmingham over conditions and contracts - BBC NewsDr Gillian Farmer, GP from Coventry Local Medical Committee said:

“A strong general practice keeps people healthy by giving them the care they need in their community. I chose to become a GP so I could spend time with and care for my patients holistically, but right now the system is not allowing me to do that. GPs are dealing with   immense pressure and patient safety is at risk – we urgently need the government to listen and work with us to save our surgeries.”

A properly functioning general practice is essential – both socially and economically, and if general practice is adequately funded so it is enabled to provide preventative care in the community, GPs will save millions of lives, and save the UK economy £millions over time.

GPs are calling for:

  1. A plan to retain the GP workforce.
  2. Fair funding as part of the wider NHS.
  3. Greater freedom and autonomy to do our jobs.
  4. Allowing us to recruit GPs and nurses with the funding available.
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