Connect with us

Health

GPs warn face-to-face appointments plan could lead to exodus of doctors

appointments

GPs warn face-to-face appointments plan could lead to exodus of doctors

GP leaders have warned that giving patients guaranteed face-to-face appointments could lead to a crippling exodus of family doctors already exhausted by the pandemic and despairing of being “pilloried” by ministers.

The profession’s key bodies said the government’s plan to force them to see in person every patient who asks will exacerbate the already serious shortage of doctors, especially as the proposal includes “naming and shaming” surgeries that do not comply.

Opposition parties also rounded on the government’s blueprint for change, with the former Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt saying ministers were taking the wrong approach.

“This is a burnt-out workforce running on empty,” he said.

The increasingly bitter war of words between GPs and the government escalated further when Prof Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), condemned ministers for implying that family doctors are lazy, despite working long hours and dealing with increasingly heavy and complex workloads.

“The last thing GPs are is lazy, and that goes for other members of our team as well,” Marshall told the Guardian.

“GPs have worked to their limits over the last 18 months, caring for patients in as safe a way as possible,” he added.

He also accused minsters of spreading dangerous myths that telephone or video appointments are inferior to in-person interactions. “The narrative being peddled that remote consultations are substandard to those delivered in person is dangerous. Face to face appointments will always be an essential part of general practice, but good and safe care can also be delivered remotely.”

The British Medical Association said Javid’s failure to push through major changes it suggested to reduce GPs’ workloads “will force many GPs to hang up their stethoscopes and leave the profession for the last time.”

Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the BMA’s GP committee, told the Guardian: “This new performance management messaging and potential public naming and shaming will do little to persuade wavering GPs to remain in the NHS, and the constant criticism will do nothing to persuade new recruits to choose general practice.

“After pulling out all the stops, working all hours to provide for patients over the last 20 months, delivering world class Covid and flu vaccination programmes, these latest insults will leave many asking why they bother.”

Javid’s plan, under which GPs in England will receive £250m extra funding if they agree to see more patients face-to-face, was criticised by Hunt, the health secretary from 2012-18.

He described the government’s proposals as a poorly thought-out “sticking plaster” that would not work.

The chronic and worsening lack of GPs meant the plan is doomed, Hunt said. “As someone who tried and failed to get 5,000 more GPs into the system, I don’t think this package will turn the tide,” he said. While he recruited more young doctors to train as GPs, that success was nullified by larger numbers of older family doctors going part-time or quitting altogether, he added.

Official workforce figures published by NHS Digital show that the number of full-time equivalent GPs in England has fallen from 29,403 in September 2015 to 28,023 – a fall of 1,380. However, the overall number of family doctors has risen over that same period from 36,120 to 38,792.

“This is a burnt-out workforce running on empty because of a massive mismatch between supply and demand. The only thing that will convince them not to continue retiring or opting for part-time hours in droves is a clear plan to end the unsustainable pressure they face,” added Hunt.

He said Javid should instead focus on a massive recruitment drive that would include persuading retired GPs who came back into the NHS during Covid to stay. Incentives to entice doctors from abroad, especially Canada and Australia, to come and work in Britain, are also needed.

The outpouring of anger from GPs that greeted Javid’s “GP rescue plan” led the health secretary to pull out of a scheduled appearance at the RCGP’s annual conference in Liverpool at the last minute.

The BMA accused him of “running scared of speaking to the profession face-to-face because he knows his plan is, in reality, no plan at all.”

Opposition parties voiced their fears of even more GPs quitting.

“There is now a real risk that GPs already burned out from working overtime during the pandemic will walk away from the profession in frustration at the government’s attitude towards them”, said Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson.

“We should not forget the sacrifices many GPs have made to keep us safe. It seems the government have a short memory on this.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “Within minutes Sajid Javid’s promise to guarantee face to face appointments with a doctor completely unravelled.

“By failing to put forward a proper solution there is now a real risk that more GPs could quit in frustration. No wonder the health secretary ran away from explaining himself face to face. Rather than picking fights he should deliver the 6,000 extra GPs he promised as Chancellor.”

Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical officer for England, struck a different tone to Javid when, addressing the RCGP gathering, he praised GPs as “outstanding”, adding: “I’m massively admiring of what you all have done, and continue to do, in the biggest public health challenge in our professional careers.”

After pulling out of the RCGP conference Javid did a round of broadcast interviews to defend his plan and then visited a GP surgery in south-east London where he lavished praise on family doctors.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

ten + seventeen =

Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

Continue Reading

Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

Continue Reading

Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending