Majority of GPs in East Anglia believe quality of service to patients has dropped

A GP checks a patient's blood pressure. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A GP checks a patient's blood pressure. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Almost six in ten GP practices in the region believe the quality of service given to patients has 'deteriorated' in the last year, a survey has revealed.

A study by the British Medical Association found 58.3pc of GP practices in East Anglia said the quality of service they were able to deliver to patients had deteriorated over the last twelve months.

A total of 37.5pc said there had been no change and 4.2pc said it had improved.

Meanwhile, 56.2pc described the workload as unmanageable a lot of the time. Another 11.6pc said it was unmanageable all of the time. And 31.4pc said it was generally manageable but too heavy at times.

Dr Ian Hume, BMA representative for East Anglia, said: 'These figures clearly show that general practice across East Anglia is struggling, with the majority of GP practices registering a deterioration in the quality of care being delivered to patients.

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'This is clearly the result of rising workload, including increasing patient demand for appointments which is placing unsustainable pressure on GP services that have been starved of resources and staff.

'With an ageing population, this pressure is only likely to increase in the years to come.'

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'A third of the workforce are considering retirement in the next five years.

'This comes at a time when GP practices across the country are seeing 150,000 more patients each day than in 2010, but have seen no extra resources to maintain effective, safe care to the public.'

In addition, figures obtained by Pulse Magazine found the government's pledge to increase GP numbers by 5,000 by 2020 have been dealt a blow after statistics showed applications for GP training are down by 5pc compared to last year.

Health minister Alistair Burt said: 'General practice is at the heart of the improvement we want to see in the NHS — which is why we are delivering record investment, with funding for the sector increasing by around 5pc every year for the rest of the Parliament.

'Soon, the Health Secretary will announce further support for GPs, including by reducing bureaucracy.'

A Department of Health spokesman added: 'Future plans include a renewed drive to cut bureaucracy throughout general practice, including stopping re-referrals from hospitals back to GPs, streamlining payment systems so that practices don't have to chase different organisations for payment, and helping surgeries become paperless.'

•Are you a GP with an expanding workload? Email

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