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Doctors dismiss UK Government plans for GPs to ‘prescribe’ energy discounts

21 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Photo Anthony Devlin PA Images
The British Medical Association (BMA) said they “completely reject” the policy drawn up in the Treasury, arguing the addition to GPs’ already huge workload would be “totally unacceptable”.

Labour accused the Conservatives of having “lost the plot” as the proposal was being considered by ministers seeking ideas to ease the pain of soaring energy bills.

Whitehall sources confirmed the proposal was “definitely of interest” and being considered after it was first reported by the Sun on Sunday.

‘Totally unacceptable’

Dr David Wrigley, BMA England’s GP committee deputy chair, said: “At a time when GPs are already overwhelmed with the greatest workforce crisis and longest waiting lists in memory, this addition to their workload is totally unacceptable.

“It beggars belief that Government ministers think it is appropriate to suggest GPs undertake this work.

“In these next few months GPs already have to worry about delivering the Covid and flu vaccination programmes that will be necessary to see the NHS through the winter, on top of their daily crushing workload and the enormous Covid backlog we now see.

“They do not have the time or the skills to do the work of the welfare system.

“The Government has not discussed this with us in any form – floating these sorts of proposals via the media is deeply unprofessional.

“We completely reject any suggestion that GPs do this work.”

It was understood the BMA would fight the policy if ministers did try to introduce it, though that is considered unlikely.

Lost the plot

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “The Conservatives have lost the plot on the cost-of-living crisis and haven’t got a clue about the level of pressure on the NHS.”

Reiterating Labour’s plan to freeze prices this winter, he added: “Labour already has the right prescription for dealing with rising energy bills.”

A Government official said the policy would “take a lot more work” but was “something to consider” as all ideas remain on the table.

On Friday, Ofgem is expected to hike the cap on energy bills from £1,971 to around £3,600 and analysts have forecast that they could hit £6,000 a year in April.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, a close ally of Liz Truss who is tipped to be her chancellor if she wins the Tory leadership race, insisted there would be fresh support this winter as energy bills soar.

“I understand the deep anxiety this is causing. As winter approaches, millions of families will be concerned about how they are going to make ends meet,” he wrote in the Mail+.

“But I want to reassure the British people that help is coming.”

He said Ms Truss “will look at what more can be done to help families” but insisted it is “entirely reasonable not to detail the exact shape of that support until she has all the information to hand”.

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1 year ago

Well here’s to a cold Christmas and dead pensioners regardless of who’ the next PM. The tory party is lurching so far towards the right that they have lost any rational thought. Whilst other national governments are holding down living costs for their citizens ours is going full steam ahead to increase them.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago
Reply to  Ceramike

‘Unprofessional’ must be the understatement of the week, a hopeless set of individuals with no life skills whatsoever imagine themselves capable of managing the affairs of some 70 million people through the worst set of circumstances since end of the second world war… By Christmas the libraries and places of worship will be packed with cold hungry people. The streets will be patrolled by armed and armoured paramilitary security forces operating under shoot to kill anti-cheese looting orders… The prisons and hospitals will be full to bursting and Ms Truss and Patel, flanked by their Valkyries, dressed in black leather… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion

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