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The News Line: News GPs are not gatekeepers, their place is in the communities GPs have stressed that the best place for GPs to work is in their community, as opposed to working in hospital triage as first point of contact in A&Es for patients.


The government will spend £100m on GP triage in A&E departments, it was announced in the budget on Wednesday. Tory chancellor Philip Hammond also announced £325m towards pushing the hated Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which include the complete closure of 14 hospitals, a further 11 maternity units, thousands of beds axed and numerous A&Es shut.

BMA member Dr Mohammed Latif, working at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, told News Line: ‘Posting GPs in A&Es does not tackle the underlying issue which is an underfunding and an understaffing of GP services and community services. Trying to plug the gaps when it is too late in A&E is dangerous and not to mention inconvenient for patients.’

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘We feel that the best place for GPs is working with patients in their communities to provide high quality general practice and the money just announced for new triage systems in emergency departments would achieve more if most was spent shoring up general practice so we can deliver more care and services, and in doing so alleviate pressures right across the NHS.’

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: ‘The crisis in the NHS doesn’t stop at the hospital door – our A&Es are struggling because of an overstretched system. Having GPs in A&E won’t reduce admissions – if anything this could have the effect of attracting more patients to hospitals.

‘The government also needs to explain how it will fund and recruit GPs to work on-site at hospitals when there already aren’t enough to meet the needs of the public. Many are already working in practices with permanent vacancies which they are unable to fill, despite government promises at the last election to recruit 5,000 more doctors into general practice.’
 
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