There will be an “explosion” of one million more people living with more than one long-term life-threatening conditions within a decade, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
This will cost general practice in the NHS up to £1.2bn a year, according to the college’s analysis.
The College forecasts that if current trends continue, it will be 65 years before the share of the NHS budget for general practice – where the majority of patients are cared for – creeps back to the levels of a decade ago, when multi-morbidities such as cancer and diabetes were not as prevalent. Allowing the funding for general practice to decrease to such dangerous levels, she claimed, is “throwing money down the drain”, Maureen Baker, chief executive of the RCGP said today at the annual conference in Glasgow.
Baker added: “We need an NHS that can achieve this in a cost-effective way, supporting people to stay out of hospital and live as independently as possible. And we need an NHS that is caring and person-centred, because we know that clinical need so often overlaps with psychological and social factors. We all know what this is – it’s called general practice!”
She also dismissed the English Government’s preoccupation with seven day working as “living in cloud cuckoo land” and branded it a “recipe for disaster” with current resources.
“Mr Hunt you say ‘new deal’, but my message to you and Mr Cameron is this… If you don’t shore up existing GP care as your top priority, not only will you not get a seven day service, but you won’t have a five day service either – because you will have completely decimated general practice,” Baker said.