Doctors in Unite Proposals for a Radical New Vision for Primary Care and Public Health


For over a dozen years the NHS and social care has been in the grip of a Tory programmes of vicious austerity. The Health Foundation points out that UK NHS spending has risen by 3.7% per year since it was founded, with 6.3% annual growth being achieved in the decade to 2009/10. However in the subsequent decade of Tory government (and Lib Dem in parts), the growth was just over 1%. This has created a crisis in the service which was under massive, unacceptable pressures without the additional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Nowhere has this pressure been greater than in primary care. Doctors in UNITE has issued proposals for revitalising primary care by rooting it in local communities supported by community development workers and strong multi-disciplinary teams. The proposals also call for a public health leads in each neighbourhood to address the causes of ill-health and to tackle health inequalities.

Dr Jackie Applebee (DiU Chair) said “General practice is facing a life or death crisis. A massive increase in workload, linked to poor terms of service, is resulting in more doctors leaving the profession than are joining. This is taking place as more patients than ever are using the service. We must make the NHS more attractive for family doctors.”

“This crisis is so serious that unless we see radical action general practice and family medicine will be in terminal decline. It is for this reason that Doctors in Unite is launching this charter to provide hope for the profession and hope for our patients.”

“This radical charter outlines what needs to be done to address the crisis in family medicine, linked to proposals for improving the health of our patients and our communities as well as tackling ever growing health inequalities. These have been graphically exposed and made worse by the Covid pandemic.”

“Better health for our patients needs better quality time with doctors and other members of the primary health care team. The medical profession needs to work with the communities they serve to tackle the causes of ill health and health inequalities”.

“More time is only possible with more doctors. These doctors must be provided with contracts that will encourage them to join general practice and stay there for a full working career. The present doctor’s contract, linked to work pressures, is not allowing this to happen. This must change, and we have outlined in detail in our charter what needs to be done.”

“At the moment we know patients, doctors and the wider NHS are getting a rotten deal from the way general practice and primary care is being delivered. The NHS is already in a highly fragile stage and part of its recovery requires a vital and vibrant primary care and general practice service.”