All I Want for Christmas is YOU

And I mean YOU, all our fantastic primary care staff – reception, admin, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, physician associates, GPs.

I want you to be able to still be working in the service going forward that is properly funded and supported. We know that the age profile for many of key staff, practice nurses, managers and GPs that many are reaching retirement and work pressures are making many leave early. We need to retain these key staff for a few more years to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation, even if that generation is going to be working in a different way. The promised extra resources year after year are not apparent to me at the frontline. This failure of NHS England and the Department of Health to implement this increased funding and resource, year after year, in line with their own report and policy is a disappointment.

This is also seen across various areas


The contrast between tens of millions being spent on hospital expansion across our area with a meagre spending on primary care estates is stark. At least five practices per year should be built or significantly extending to make the space needed.

GP Training

GP training schemes are not just an educational resource but also key in providing a future GP workforce. The importance of this can be seen in areas where there are no training scheme e.g. Great Yarmouth and Waveney, where recruitment difficulties for GPs are much harder. Our excellent local schemes – Bury, Ipswich, Colchester – are actively promoting retention of the skills in Suffolk, supported by the GP Federation, particularly with our first five groups. Myself and Nick Rayner, also to teach the FY1s and FY2s in hospital as often as we can, actively promoting general practice as a career. The value of training schemes means that they should be much better funded. It is disappointing that health education in the East of England gets less than its fair share.

Other Staff Training

It can be difficult to host nurses, paramedics, physician associates, etc, in the practice due to poor funding and time consuming application forms. This needs to be simplified and again appropriate resource offered, so these colleagues can see the benefit of multidisciplinary work in general practice. We know the impression that they are often given in their hospital jobs may be ill-informed and negative towards general practice.

If I see another programme or report describing the pressures on A&E Departments over this winter with no reference to pressure on primary care, community service and social care, I may just choke on my mince pie, and end up in A&E myself. How is that for irony?

Happy Christmas