TUC publishes league table of shortfalls in NHS GP provision

By agency reporter
July 2, 2018

New analysis published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows the locations in England where there are too few GPs.

There is a shortfall in every single one of the 44 STP planning areas into which NHS England is divided. STP stands for Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. These are 44 areas covering all of England, where local NHS organisations and councils have drawn up proposals to improve health and care in the areas they serve. Half of these areas are estimated to be working with at least 20 per cent fewer GPs than they need for the size of their local population.

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton STP has the largest shortfall, with 43 per cent fewer GPs than needed. And no area has all the GPs it needs – even the best provided area, Dorset STP, has four per cent too few GPs.

The TUC says that the widespread – and in many cases severe – GP shortfalls are the result of under-investment in the NHS, which is apparent across many of its services.

Health economists at the IFS and Health Foundation estimate that in the next five years the Department of Health will need four per cent extra per year to keep the NHS running at current service levels. But to modernise the NHS, they estimate annual funding increases of five per cent will be needed.

The government has committed to giving the NHS around £20 billion more a year extra by 2023/24 – an increase to the Department of Health budget of around three per cent. This leaves a funding gap of at least £8 billion by 2023/24 to maintain current levels of service, and a gap of £16 billion by 2023/24 to modernise the NHS.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Underfunding has left the NHS on the critical list. There are too few doctors, too few beds and too few healthcare staff.

“The best medicine for the NHS is the extra funding it needs. But the government is giving it too small a dose to bring it up to full health.

“We’re sending a message to the government today that our NHS needs a better deal. And it must be publicly owned and provided so that every penny goes to patient care and not to private profits.”

* View the league table for shortfall in GP provision by STP area here

* NHS Health Check, an online app for checking local NHS shortages by entering a postcode, is here

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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