10:31 31 December 2016
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs Council, said that general practice is “skating on thin ice” due to the lack of NHS funding over the last 10 years.
She said that some patients now have to wait for up to three weeks to see GPs for non-urgent matters such as bleeding problems or suspected lumps.
"With lumps or bleeding problems or things that could be signs of serious disease, my profound concern is that people will delay seeking help for things that could potentially be life-threatening or life-changing if they are not tackled swiftly.
She went on: "As a service that is already skating on thin ice - a service that is stretched incredibly thinly - something has to give.
"Well, what do you do? If you've got to deal with people who are acutely sick on the day because people need help, then chronic disease management will disappear."
She added: "The knock-on consequences could take years to manifest but they will be very serious indeed."
Recognising that NHS England had promised to invest more money into GP services, Dr Stokes-Lampard said that it had yet to reach the front line.
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