The new health secretary Dr Thérèse Coffey has announced that GPs must see patients who ‘need’ an appointment within two weeks, Pulse reports.
Despite assuring GPs there would be no sanctions for missing the target, the announcement created uproar at the BMA and RCGP.
“The target of GPs now offering appointments within two weeks is simply another addition to a tick-box culture highlighting a tone-deaf government approach when it comes to those delivering the service on the ground,” GPC chair Dr Farah Jameel responded.
“It’s a shame that the Health Secretary didn’t talk to the College and to our members on the frontline before making her announcement… Lumbering a struggling service with more expectations, without a plan as to how to deliver them, will only serve to add to the intense workload and workforce pressures GPs and our teams are facing,” RCGP chair Prof Martin Marshall said.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “This must be one of the most pointless and meaningless announcements by a health secretary in the entire history of health secretaries.
“Creating an expectation that GPs will somehow now see everyone within 14 days will not magically create more GPs. If anything, we’ll just lose more to burnout, and put even more off becoming GPs in the first place.
“Any further announcements by health secretaries need to be less chocolate teapot and more practical, tangible, and properly thought out.”