Express & Star

'GPs are speaking with a united voice': Doctors to march this weekend in peaceful demonstration

GPs and patients from across the West Midlands will join a peaceful demonstration tomorrow in a bid to end the 'crisis in general practice'.

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The move is to drive more attention on a need to 'save' the region's surgeries, with 106 sites closed across the country last year.

The peaceful demonstration - taking place in Birmingham city centre - will be attended by GPs from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, North and South Staffordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Telford, Solihull, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire.

In a show of solidarity between GP staff and those they help, they'll be joined by patients who are feeling the effects of a neglected general practice in their communities - and together are calling on politicians from all parties to make fixing general practice an urgent priority.

According to the group, workloads have been steadily rising in general practices over the last decade whilst the GP workforce has significantly depleted.

There are currently 1,900 fewer GPs in comparison to 2016, despite the Government’s promise to recruit 6,000 additional GPs in its 2016 manifesto.

106 surgeries closed their doors last year alone, and GPs are leaving the profession in droves due to the unsustainable workload.

Dr Manu Agrawal, GP in Stafford and Secretary of West Midlands LMC Group

Dr Manu Agrawal, GP in Stafford and secretary of the West Midlands Local Medical Committee (LMC), said: “General practice should be at the heart of every community – keeping patients safe and providing strong foundations for the rest of the NHS. But a decade of neglect and underinvestment along with over regulation, micromanagement and bureaucracy have broken the entire system, as the GP workforce shrinks and practices close down across the country.

"GPs in the West Midlands are today speaking with a united voice. We are calling on government to work with us and commit to addressing the current GP crisis.

"We would encourage as many people as possible to come and talk to us, it's an important issue and we're hoping to make a change."

Dr Gillian Farmer, Worcestershire LMC secretary and GP, said: “A strong general practice keeps people healthy by giving them the care they need in their community. I chose to become a GP so I could spend time with and care for my patients holistically, but right now the system is not allowing me to do that.

"GPs are dealing with immense pressure and patient safety is at risk – we urgently need our government to listen and work with us to save our surgeries.”