Tag Archives: GPs

Ed Davey calls for legal right to see GP within 7 days

Getting a doctor’s appointment is becoming more and more of a challenge. Whether it means explaining in detail to a non-qualified receptionist who triages requests, or having to grapple with an inflexible online booking system, or having to join a phone queue at 8am exactly, or even filling in an online form just to be put in another triage queue – the processes seem designed to make you think it’s not worth it. They are particularly trying for anyone who is elderly, sick or in pain, or who has a chronic medical condition, and these, after all, take up a large proportion of appointments.

During the pandemic we got used to phone and video consultations, but we all knew these were not the most effective way to make a diagnosis, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that serious conditions were missed. It may still make sense for a doctor to hold an initial remote conversation, but only if an in-person appointment can be made speedily if needed.

But the delays in getting appointments is very real. Years ago no-one would have been offered a GP appointment in two weeks’ time for a new condition, and yet that is what is happening now.

Ed Davey is announcing plans to give us all the legal right to see a GP within a week (or 24 hours if urgent). It is certainly an indicator of the stresses within the NHS if a week’s delay is seen as an improvement. He has unearthed data which shows that 25% of people in some areas have to wait over two weeks for an appointment.  This is in the context of the two week target for suspected cancer cases to be seen by a specialist, where the clock only starts once someone has actually seen their GP. That wait could be doubled if they can’t get a GP appointment immediately.

The proposal is that this right would be enshrined in law, thus putting a duty on the Government to ensure that it happens.  Of course, it can only be achieved if the recruitment and retention of GPs is improved, and that requires action at the highest level.

So watch out for the announcement in Ed’s major speech at the weekend – designed to replace the missed Conference speech. Ahead of that he has said:

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Dodds: GPs could be forced to leave Wales

Yesterday in the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds requested that the Welsh Government issues a statement on the possibility that 80 or 160 overseas trainee GPs in Wales may be forced to leave the country.

The request came as the Lib Dems revealed that across the border in England, 6.2 million people waited over eight days for a GP appointment in February, up 9 per cent on the previous month.

A report by the Welsh BMA GPs committee earlier this year highlighted that current Home Office rules implemented by Priti Patel and the Conservatives mean that individuals must have worked for five years under a Skilled Workers Visa in order to be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILTR).

This could result in 80 out of this year’s 160 GP trainees in Wales not being eligible to stay in the country under ILTR because of limited work opportunities at Welsh GP practices that serve as established Skilled Worker visa sponsors.

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28 November 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And here are the rest…

  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s comments show he is no champion of women’s rights
  • Sarah Wollaston: Number of GP practices falls to record low as winter crisis approaches
  • Lib Dems won’t let your future melt away
  • Tory threat to Channel 4 is attempt to cover up Johnson’s cowardice

Lib Dems: Johnson’s comments show he is no champion of women’s rights

Responding to Boris Johnson’s comments on single mothers, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine, said:

So many of us in this country know the reality of the sacrifice and effort made by single parents. But yet again these comments show Boris Johnson is

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Lamb: Government failing abysmally on GP target

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Last week a study highlighted that almost a million EU workers could leave the UK after Brexit simply because they “feel less welcome and valued” in the country and in their jobs.

The impact that is going to have on our health service and the wider economy is severe.

Today, it emerged that the Government is going to spend £100 million recruiting GPs from abroad .

More than half of the Government’s 5000 targeted increase in the number of GPs are going to be recruited in this way.  Other health workers will also be sought.

As well as the £100 million, each GP who comes from abroad will cost  taxpayers £1000 per year because of the Immigration Skills Charge. Surely the sensible thing to do would be to exempt the NHS when we need these people so badly. In fact, why have it at all? It seems to me like a silly nonsense to convince the Daily Mail that we’re doing something about immigration.

Norman Lamb said that the whole thing was absurd.

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Baroness Joan Walmsley writes…150% rise in patients forced to move GP surgery as practice closures hit record levels

One of the jewels in the NHS, for as long as I can remember, has been the family GP. My GP looked after my mother before I was born and looked after me until I moved away from home. In those days the GP’s long acquaintance with my whole family was important to us. Everyone had a “family doctor”. They even did home visits!

Things are very different now. We still have primary care and acute care, but many more community nurses, health visitors, therapists and care workers, not forgetting the wide range of services offered by community pharmacists and local authorities, where they can still afford it.

Demographic change and rising demand have put enormous pressure on GPs and, in some areas, people turn up at A&E rather than wait for an appointment. However, the role of the GP is still critical to the NHS and it is important that the system enables them to play their part in preventative medicine as well as diagnosis and signposting to other services.

Unfortunately, the demand for a seven-day service, without enough extra money to pay for it, and the enormous pressures on GPs time has made it a less attractive option for newly-qualified doctors. This has led to problems recruiting enough doctors to keep practices going and an increasing retention problem. Many GPs, especially partners who have extra duties and responsibilities compared to salaried GPs, are retiring early. In the last quarter of 2016, there was a net loss of 390 GPs in the NHS. This gives us no confidence in the government commitment to recruit 5000 more GP’s by 2020. According to the BMA, even the 5000 extra training places will only allow us to break even in GP numbers.

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At some point the Tories will run out of people to blame for the state of the NHS…

I went through just about every emotion there is watching BBC2’s new series Hospital which follows events and pressures at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Partly because some of what was shown is just a bit too close to my recent experience, partly because of the life and death decisions made every day with too few resources, I was in tears several times.  One man awaiting cancer surgery is told at the last minute that they don’t know if they will be able to operate because there isn’t an Intensive Care bed available for him.

This comes as every news bulletin carries ever more harrowing accounts of the pressures in hospitals at the moment. What is the response of the Minister responsible? To blame the public. He talked  saying that 30% of A & E patients don’t need to be there as if it is their fault that they have no other option. If people could get GP appointments or had community pharmacies to go to, they would never need to go to A & E. Whose fault is it that they have no alternative? Step forward Mr Hunt.

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Jim Hume MSP: SNP risks making GPs an exclusive service that many can’t access

I was interested to see this report in today’s Scotsman which featured Labour and the SNP slugging it out over cuts to GP training posts. People are finding it more and more difficult to get an early appointment with their GPs. You would think that the service that is the most common way for us to access the NHS would be better funded, but primary care now accounts for just 7.8% of healthcare funding, down from 9.8% in 2011.

It is causing a fairly massive amount of concern. You’d think that they’d want to discuss it in Parliament.

Oh wait – they did, but the Scotsman didn’t feel the need to talk about the debate initiated by Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume just yesterday afternoon.

Jim warned that the failure to recruit and train sufficient GPs risked the service becoming inaccessible to many people. He cited a survey carried out by the Scottish Liberal Democrats which showed that 4 in 10 respondents found their workload unmanageable and a third would choose a different career path.  An SNP MSP typically intervened to blame Westminster for increasing contributions to public sector pensions. In fact, it was day to day work concerns that upset GPs most:

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