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woensdag 3 januari 2018

RCGP: Patients' underlying problems not always medical, says RCGP

Patients' underlying problems not always medical, says RCGP

"Across the UK, GPs and our teams will see over 1m patients today – and sometimes, what people need isn't traditional medical care. They might benefit more, for example, from an exercise class, or in the case of lonely patients perhaps a community group, than any medication – and GPs will readily recommend them, if these options are appropriate and available. 

"Some GP practices are already seeing really positive outcomes with social prescribing, both in terms of prescribing less medication, fewer follow-up consultations, and engaging patients more with their own health. Some successful schemes include walking groups, 'knit and natter' groups and linking patients with local voluntary organisations, which can really help to give people a sense of purpose. 

"In the long run, social prescribing initiatives are helpful in freeing up GPs' time so they can spend time with those patients with the most complex health needs, and ease pressures on general practice and the wider NHS. But they are not a silver bullet and investing in social prescribing must not be an alternative to investing in our general practice service – we need both. 

"Ultimately, we need NHS England's GP Forward View, pledging £2.4bn extra a year and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020, to be delivered urgently and in full, and for equivalent promises to be made and delivered in each of the devolved nations. This is the only way we will secure a GP workforce fit for the future and able to deliver the care our patients need and deserve."

 

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'3 before GP': new RCGP mantra to help combat winter pressures in general practice

The Royal College of GPs' '3 before GP' refers to three questions patients should ask themselves before booking an appointment with their GP:

Can I? 

  1. self-care 
  2. use NHS Choices or similar reputable websites/resources 
  3. seek advice/treatment via a pharmacist 

The College hopes that this simple slogan will encourage patients to think hard about whether they need to see a GP during another busy winter period for general practice – or if they can deal with the problem in a different way.

Workload has increased by 16% in general practice over the last seven years, but the number of GPs has not risen with demand.

GPs are now offering more consultations than ever before, with more than 1 million patients seen across the UK every day - but recent RCGP analysis shows that, by 2020, patients will be waiting for an appointment with a GP or practice nurse on 100 million occasions.

Research by the Primary Care Foundation in 2015 claimed that 27% of GP consultations were potentially avoidable.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GPs are under immense pressures all year round, but, as we know, the colder months bring additional challenges.

"Not being able to get an appointment is frustrating for both patients and GPs, but there are a variety of alternatives to consider first and I would encourage patients with more minor illnesses to think hard about whether they actually need to see a GP.

"The '3 before GP' mantra is a simple and easy way to help reduce the strain on general practice, and we hope it will enable GPs to spend more time with patients who have complex health issues and are most in need of our expert help."

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Entire NHS facing winter pressures, says RCGP

She said: "The entire health service is facing intense winter pressures again this year and with the prevailing cold weather and peak of the flu season, these pressures are unlikely to let up anytime soon – and NHS staff in all areas of the service are working incredibly hard to deliver the best care possible for their patients.

"We support calls from health officials for patients to use the health service responsibly. People should only ever visit A&E in an emergency, but it's important that patients are aware of all the different healthcare services that are available to them if they become ill this winter. In addition to their local GP, there are urgent treatment centres in many towns and the NHS 111 phone service is available 24/7 for urgent advice and guidance.

"Last week, we asked patients to remember our 3 before GP mantra and before making a GP appointment for a new illness just think, can I self-care? Can information from NHS Choices or a similar reputable UK-based website help me? Can I seek advice from a pharmacist?

"These alternatives will allow GPs to spend more time with those patients who really need our expert care, and will help to ease pressures not only on general practice, but also across the NHS.

"Ultimately, pressures facing general practice exist year-round, so we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.4billion a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020 delivered in full, as a matter of urgency, and for equivalent promises to be made and delivered in each of the devolved nations, so that GPs and our teams are able to deliver the care our patients need and deserve throughout the year."

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