NHS backlog needs radical ideas – but also, understanding that pressures are not confined to hospitals

Responding to NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care’s Elective Recovery Plan, published today, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.

“The growing NHS backlog is putting patients in a desperate situation and it’s obvious that radical and urgent solutions are needed. Today’s Elective Recovery Plan is therefore constructive towards tackling this growing crisis that patients continue to face.

“However, NHS pressures are not confined to hospitals. Whilst patients are waiting for treatment or operations in secondary care, their health is under the care of GPs and our teams in the community. It’s crucial that any plans to alleviate the backlog in hospitals do not inadvertently push a bigger burden onto general practice, which is already beset by a huge workload and workforce crisis. It is also essential that, in line with the assurances given by the Secretary of State, today’s proposals do not worsen health inequalities.

“GPs know what works for their patients and local communities and it’s imperative that general practice is central to any discussions and decision-making by NHS leaders and the Government on reform of the NHS, post pandemic.”

Further information

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Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.