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Doctors warn GP services at ‘boiling point’ following suicide

DOCTORS warned today that Britain’s GP services are at “boiling point” after one took her own life.

Dr Gail Milligan, who worked up to 70 hours a week at Camberley Health Centre in Surrey, was found dead by police in woodland on July 27 after being reported missing the day before. 
 
Her husband Christopher Milligan said he was in “no doubt” that the stress and long hours of the job had contributed to her death, adding: “There just aren’t enough GPs to cope and now there is one less.”
 
Doctors Association UK said the “time to act is now," with GP services at “boiling point” and the pressures on practitioners mounting. 
 
It said: “GPs across the country can all agree that the pressures upon the profession have reached intolerable levels. 

“The tragic death of a dedicated colleague must act as a wake-up call for our leaders to take action to support us.”
 
Dr Ellen Welch, a GP and co-chairwoman of the association, said the reality for most GPs includes working 12-plus hour days, during which doctors are “juggling” clinical work with “mountains” of unseen tasks. 
 
She said: “How many more doctors have to burn out, retire early or even die before it clicks that the problem is fundamentally with the system and not the people within it who are trying their best. 

“My thoughts are with Dr Milligan’s family.”
 
The comments come at a time when the NHS is struggling with staffing shortages and amid concern over shortfalls in government funding.

A spokesperson for campaign group Keep Our NHS Public said: “For far too long, NHS staff have been expected to put up and shut up with chronic underfunding and understaffing, resulting in untenable working conditions.”

GMB union national officer Rachel Harrison added: "Our NHS staff are overworked across the board. Twelve years of Tory underfunding and cuts has left services struggling. 

“And the people who face this every day are our doctors, nurses — all our NHS staff. The toil this takes on their mental and physical health is huge. 

“They deserve a decent pay rise and for staffing gaps to be filled."
 
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Dr Milligan’s family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.
 
“We are working to ease pressures on GPs by tackling the Covid backlogs, better utilising technology and investing in the workforce.”

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