Demand is being underreported in general practice because of a failure to record online presentations, Dr Vish Mehra warned the Manchester Evening News this week.
The GP and chair of the Manchester GP Board was one of several GPs in the north of England who spoke out about the strain to meet demand.
“I don’t think they have a clear view,” Dr Mehra told a reporter, “because of some of the complications around the data and also the way that GP funding works, based on a budget per patient. So the amount of actual demand is not relevant from a financial perspective for government, whereas in other places, the more activity is generated, the more cost is generated. And that’s a disincentive to try and capture data around general practice demand and also to do very much about it.”
He urged the government to start collecting more accurate data, and advised that GP locums could be brought in to help support struggling practices.
The paper raised the alarm about the workforce crisis in the north last week after a partner with 20 years’ experience in Bury gave an anonymous report about his own sudden resignation.
Salford practice manager Andrea Simpson warned that salaried GPs were also under pressure and one salaried doctor at her practice warned her position was becoming ‘untenable’.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of the NASGP, wrote: “Any increase in GP workload over and above accepted safe levels will have a deleterious effect on patient care, as well as place any GP’s professional standards at risk.
“We hope that our growing network of GP chambers will help any of those leaving that partnership to maintain their professional standards, whilst it’s still in practice.”