Plea over GP funding shortfall

KINGSWOOD Health Centre is at the forefront of a campaign to raise awareness of the funding crisis facing GP practices.

The surgery has written to its 13,000 patients explaining that the money it receives from the government has not kept pace with large rises in costs – such as for staffing, electricity and supplies – and increased demand from patients.

The letter warns: “We are all struggling to stay afloat. If this continues, your local practice may disappear.”
Managing partner Robyn Clark told the Voice the health centre was not in imminent danger of closure but it was facing severe financial pressures.

Under the latest agreement, the government has increased funding for GP practices by just 2 per cent this year while bills have risen by much more.

This is at a time when demand is continuing to increase. The surgery says it is seeing 20 per cent more patients than before the pandemic – more than 7,000 a month.

To balance the books, Kingswood Health Centre has had to freeze recruitment, so patients are warned they might have to wait longer for appointments, medical reports and responses to requests.
In the letter, patients are told they can help by visiting the pharmacy first for some illnesses and by attending health checks when invited.

“At Kingswood Health Centre we are feeling the pressure and are working as hard as we can to provide the right care for our patients.

“We are worried and distressed about the current situation too and wish we could do more,” the practice says.
Patients who share the GPs’ concerns are urged to write to their MP.

The Government says that across the country it is providing 50 million more GP appointments per yet and that funding for GP practices rose by 19 per cent between 2017 and 2022.