Prime Minister Theresa May should apologise to GPs for scapegoating them for the A&E crisis, Tory MP, House of Commons health committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has said.
Her comments come as a Downing Street source told newspapers that GP practices were ‘not providing access that patients need’.
Saturday papers quoted a No 10 source as saying that it ‘is increasingly clear that a large number of surgeries are not providing access that patients need – and that patients are suffering as a result because they are then forced to go to A&E to seek care’.
‘It’s also bad for hospitals, who then face additional pressure on their services,’ the source added.
Papers reported that Prime Minister Theresa May wants GP practices to open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm, unless they could prove the demand was not there, or risk losing funding.
But Dr Wollaston told the Independent: ‘I do feel this is going to backfire, I think it was the wrong thing to say, and I think frankly they should apologise.’
She also took to Twitter to say it was ‘beyond belief that anyone would think that attacking an overstretched and demoralised primary care would serve any purpose whatsoever’.
She added that both the ‘public and NHS staff [deserve] better than scapegoating, smoke and mirrors’ and the Government ‘needs to start with honest discussion of the background pressures’.
According to Dr Wollaston the Government ‘has failed to grasp scale of the increase in complexity of cases in A&E/GP’ and the ‘crisis [is] not driven by trivial conditions in wrong place.’
Full story in Pulse, 16 January 2017