New primary care minister James Morris MP has denied that there is currently a ‘crisis’ in general practice, although he admitted there is a 'serious challenge'.

Mr Morris, who was appointed as primary care minister last week, told the final hearing yesterday (13 July) of the health and social care committee inquiry into the future of general practice that he does not believe there is a ‘crisis’ in general practice.

Committee chair and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt asked him: ‘[Do] you think general practice is in crisis?’

Mr Morris responded: ‘No I don’t think I would, chair. As we’ve discussed today, clearly it wouldn’t be correct to assert that we have anything other than a major challenge in this area.

‘The pandemic, rising demand [and] issues to do with the workforce are all big issues that need to be addressed over the long term, but I think we do have the tools and the means to be able to address those issues.’

He added: ‘There are no quick fixes, but there are lots of elements in the changing landscape in primary care and the approach the Government is taking is designed to address that.

‘So I wouldn’t use the word crisis, but we do have a serious challenge.’

NHS England director of primary and community care and GP Dr Amanda Doyle also suggested that she does not believe there is a GP ‘crisis’.

Dr Doyle said: ‘I think general practice is struggling to manage the demand that it’s seeing at the moment and the things we need to do are things to help both manage the demand but increase the capacity.’

When pushed on whether she ‘would use the word “crisis”’, she said that it is ‘very difficult’ and that she accepts there is a ‘challenge’.

She told the committee: ‘It’s very difficult, language becomes very emotive. I accept there is an absolute challenge and it’s really difficult for both GPs trying to manage demand and people trying to access general practitioners in some parts of the country at the moment.’

A version of this article was originally published on our sister publication Pulse.