January is a time for resolutions and hopes for the year to come. As we approach the second anniversary of the start of the pandemic, many will be hoping that 2022 will see general practice regain some of the ground lost to COVID-19, restoring demand for services to a manageable level and reducing the backlog of delayed care. However, in a Hot Topic article, Dr David Jenner sounds a warning about the capacity of primary care to deliver these aspirations. He provides an in-depth analysis of workforce shortages in primary care and their potential impact on services, and calls for a fully funded workforce plan that supports the growth and training of staff. In addition to treatment and monitoring, prompt recognition and prevention are essential; with insufficient staff, these aims become unachievable.

Without necessary resources such as time and staff, it would be impossible to follow Dr Anne Connolly’s advice on the importance of early intervention to prevent the development of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer, and potential gains would be lost. Nor would it be feasible to harness the benefits of achieving remission in type 2 diabetes, as outlined by Dr Pam Brown. Lack of resources compounds existing problems, and patients and general practice stand to lose out even further. Dr Jenner’s article appeals for urgent action on planning and funding to recruit sufficient numbers to the workforce and, just as importantly, to create an attractive working environment for the retention of existing staff. A continuing failure to address this issue will lead to further deterioration, and attempts to recover and grow are doomed to fail.

Also in this issue: 

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