Tories plan cap on GP visits!

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THE Tories are considering capping visits to GPs, that is limiting the number of times in a year that a patient can see their GP.

Tory activists have been asked whether capping GP visits is an election winner.

A consultation document, for long-standing members, Local Health Discussion Brief posted on the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) website, poses the issue.

Among the other questions are whether GPs should be made to take responsibility for out-of-hours care in their area.

These are the issues that Health Secretary Hunt has been raising in meetings in the last few weeks.

Seeing a GP for a routine appointment at the weekends is being described as a ‘luxury that we can no longer afford’.

The Conservative Policy Forum is a body for members to discuss major policy issues and is currently headed by Cameron adviser and Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, commented: ‘This was obviously written by someone who has never been unwell, or has never met people who work in the health service.

‘People come to GPs’ surgeries because they are ill or because we are asking them to come because we are concerned about them.

‘What we must do is fund general practice sufficiently so that we can offer flexible appointment times.’

The suggestion comes as government plans are to be unveiled that mean half of all medical students will be required to become general practitioners.

Independent training organisation Health Education England (HEE) will be told to meet the 50 per cent target by March 2015, health minister Dan Poulter is to announce.

Around 400 trainee doctors a year become family doctors, around 40 per cent, but ministers want to increase the rate so more patients can be treated locally rather than in hospital.

Oliver Letwin chairs the Conservative Policy Forum website where the issue was posted for discussion.

At last week’s GPs’ conference the Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs Committee, Dr Laurence Buckman, said that Health Secretary Hunt ‘keeps on tweeting and speaking a childishly superficial and misleading analysis of a very complex problem’.