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BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7251.1734 (Published 24 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1734

Local medical committee conference

News p 1692

More funds still needed for NHS

GPs have welcomed the extra resources committed to the NHS by the government, but at the annual conference of local medial committees last week speaker after speaker pointed out that the money going into the service and particularly general practice was insufficient.

And the chairman of the General Practitioners Committee, Dr John Chisholm, said in his opening address that the 35% rise in funding over five years would increase healthcare spending in the United Kingdom to 7.6% of gross domestic product, still below the percentage of several other European countries.

The meeting resolved not only that the extra funding was inadequate but urged the government to use available resources to ensure that basic services were adequate and uniformly available.

Dr Yvonne Taylor (Glasgow) said that the United Kingdom had poor survival rates in many common diseases, there were fewer doctors per head of population than France or Spain, and much of the extra money would be used to wipe out the debt of NHS trusts. “The government is committed to improving the treatment of people with cardiothoracic problems and cancer, but where is the money coming from?” she asked.

General practice must get its share

The conference called for extra recurrent resources from the cash injection to be available to general practice to “enable the quality and breadth of service expected by the public to be provided” and enable winter pressures to be met. It unanimously resolved that general practice could not deliver the government's modernisation programme without substantial additional financial and human resources.

Dr Earl O'Brien (Birmingham) said that when the government came up with a new idea, such as improving immunisation targets, improving the management of people with diabetes or asthma, providing health services for refugees, it asked GPs. “The government has squandered the goodwill and is using a populist approach …

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