United Kingdom

Doctors say Sajid Javid UK | news

Doctors have taken the unprecedented step of writing to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, exposing the scale of the crisis which is putting patient safety at risk. They say the situation is dire but will only get worse if immediate action is not taken to address life-threatening concerns.

By Sunday, 3,569 GPs, retired GPs and trainee GPs had signed the letter, which was published exclusively in Monday’s Express.

Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of GPs, warned: “General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS. It helps more patients than the rest of the NHS combined. So when doctors and their patients say that general practice is in crisis, we should all be concerned. It is clear that we are already struggling and without action things are likely to get worse.”

Patients are already struggling to secure routine appointments due to urgent GP staffing. The analysis shows that four in 10 plan to quit after five years.

Millions of people have been unable to see a doctor face-to-face during high Covid, while demand has grown in volume and complexity.

GPs have long complained of day-to-day barriers preventing them from offering timely help and support, including a lack of resources and reliable IT systems. Lacking the proper equipment to help the sick and vulnerable, many suffer from their mental ill-health and as a result an alarming number of newly qualified doctors are leaving the profession.

The government has promised to deliver another 6,000 GPs, but the RCGP said it must act now as a row over the actual number of doctors on the job heats up.

In 2015, the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, pledged a further 5,000 GPs by 2020. Goal failed.

Excluding trainees, there are now about 27,647 full-time family doctors, 132 fewer than at the time of the pledge. The RCGP says the number of trained, full-time equivalent GPs has fallen by 1,516 since 2015. The British Medical Association claims the real figure is much higher, with 1,622 fewer fully qualified doctors since September 2015.

The average doctor will care for about 2,000 patients, each of whom visits the surgery about five times a year, which means they have plowed through 10,000 appointments. Some parts of the country have just six GPs caring for 14,000 patients, while others see more than 60 a day.

One desperate family doctor told how the NHS is failing those most in need, saying: “I had two patients in tears this week because we can’t go to hospital clinics because they are closed due to overcrowding. Patients with severe symptoms who are stuck and I have nothing else to offer them

“The only thing I could suggest was that they both separate. The current rate to see a private counselor in London is £300-£400. This is for an initial evaluation and not an investigation. Both of these patients are in their seventies. It makes me sick.”

Some surgeries have deliberately turned off online patient access because they can’t cope with the volume of demand. In most cases, when patients are able to book appointments, it is rarely with the same doctor.

A coalition of current and former GPs is calling for bold action, including a new recruitment and retention strategy, to exceed the recruitment target of 6,000 more GPs.

Other demands include an NHS-wide campaign to free up time by cutting red tape, investment in IT upgrades and a £1 billion works program to fix crumbling surgery buildings.

A growing number of patients unable to secure regular GP appointments are going private to beat long waiting lists.

Latest figures show 1.6 million patients used a fee-for-service GP amid the lowest levels of satisfaction with family doctors in the NHS. Meanwhile, almost half of GPs said they would consider private practice over an online service.

One GP told the Daily Express. “In fact, we already have a two-tiered health care system where most of my colleagues will tell a patient that if they can afford to make it private, they should. People are increasingly being pushed to pay for health care so they don’t have to wait so long.”

According to figures released by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS employed 4,600 more doctors and 11,100 more nurses than last year.

The government said £520m has been invested to improve access and expand GP capacity as it tries to create 50m more appointments a year to clear the Covid backlog.



Doctors say Sajid Javid UK | news

Source Doctors say Sajid Javid UK | news

Back to top button