Commenting on British Medical Association (BMA) chair of council Dr Mark Porter’s letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine said:
“The real issue is that every part of the NHS is struggling. Dr Porter is right because the government is telling people that efficiencies are being put in place while, in reality, there is a global reduction in service provision.
“This is occurring in primary and secondary care, i.e. GP surgeries and hospitals. At the same time, social care funding is insufficient to meet the needs of the population. Hence we have a rising demand of sick people who are predominantly elderly. When they are physically better we are not able to safely discharge them because social support is not available.
“The patients we are seeing this winter are sick. If emergency departments are full of sick people the problem is not due to inadequate primary care. The problem is that we do not have enough beds to accommodate patients.
“The patients who are wrongly perceived as needing a GP and do not need to come to A&E are not causing this problem. The problem is the number of sick patients who we cannot get home once they are better.
“I think Dr Porter gives a very articulate description of the problems we face. We all accept that there is are no easy solution. The government must accept there is a problem and work with us to find solutions.
“Marginalising and attacking general practitioners is wrong.”