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maandag 13 maart 2017

RCGP: Data on waiting times should not be used as a measure of performance, says RCGP

Data on waiting times should not be used as a measure of performance, says RCGP

She said: "GPs and our teams will today see more than 1.3m patients – we are working flat out, delivering the vast majority of NHS patient care, for a fraction of the overall budget. We want to do more for our patients, we want to offer more services that our patients will find useful and will be of benefit to their health, but with the intense resource and workforce pressures we are facing, this will simply not be possible.

"The College has not shied away from highlighting the issue of soaring waiting times for patients to see their GP – and we want to work with NHS England and others to improve the service for patients, right across the NHS.

"Data can be a very useful tool in improving patient care – but data on waiting times should not be used as a measure of performance, as this will be affected by too many variables. Average waiting times will be influenced by population demographics and deprivation levels in an area, for example, as well as factors at a practice level, such as recruitment difficulties.

"It is essential that any data derived from general practice is used in a meaningful way to inform and improve the health service and the care that patients receive, and is not  simply used as a stick to beat hard working GPs and our teams with.

"We're pleased that Simon Stevens recognises that nearly 90% of GP practices are already offering some form of extended access for patients, as this is often overlooked. However, it remains important that the services we do provide are not imposed, but are based on local need – this was a key feature of NHS England's GP Forward View, which the College has supported as a lifeline for our profession.

"Our members have told us of a number of cases where practices have offered extended services but had to stop because of a lack of patient demand. The long and short of it is that patients have better things to do with their Sunday afternoons than see their GP for routine care. 

"We also need to move away from this idea that if a surgery isn't open, it isn't delivering care. If contractual obligations are not being met, that's another story, but often practices have no option to close during core hours to make home visits, conduct telephone consultations, or do urgent paperwork relevant to patient care.

"We recognise that colleagues across the health service are also under pressure and urgent measures must be taken to avoid a repeat of the situation that patients and doctors have had to endure this winter – but the solution does not lie in pushing the pressure back onto general practice when it is already creaking at the seams.

"We have a chronic shortage of GPs and if we are siphoned off to do triage in emergency departments or required to keep open our surgeries for longer, it will inevitably have a serious knock-on effect on the routine care and services we can provide to our patients.
"The best place for GPs is working with patients in their communities to provide high quality general practice and we believe that the money announced by the Chancellor yesterday would achieve more if it was invested in general practice.

"We urge Simon Stevens to accelerate the £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more full time GPs promised in NHS England's GP Forward View so that GPs on the frontline and our patients can start seeing the benefits. If general practice is properly resourced and supported, the entire NHS reaps the rewards."

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RCGP Scotland response to Cabinet Secretary's announcement on general practice

"The pledge made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last October that 'an extra half a billion pounds will be invested in our GP practices and health centres' gave us great reason for optimism. It put us within touching distance of the investment that we so desperately need to boost the GP workforce and get general practice in Scotland back on to a more secure footing.

"Today's announcement clarifies that under the Scottish Government's plans general practice will receive an extra £250m in direct support per year by 2021, and an extra £71.6m this year.

"We look forward to our meeting with Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison on Wednesday and to continuing our work with the Scottish Government and our Scottish GPC colleagues to deliver a positive future for general practice and for all our patients.

"I continue to believe the Scottish Government clearly intends to transform care away from hospitals to being focused and centred on communities and is committed to making changes needed to achieve this. This is entirely in keeping with RCGP Scotland's Core Values –  more funding for general practice, more GPs and more practice staff will be essential to achieve this."



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Cervical screening important regardless of sexual orientation, says RCGP

"It's important for all women who have ever been sexually active to have regular cervical screening tests, sometimes called smear tests, in line with national clinical guidance, regardless of their sexual orientation. The only women who would not potentially benefit from a smear test are those who have never been sexually intimate, in any way, with anyone.

"The human papilloma virus (HPV) can be spread through all kinds of activity, not just during intercourse between a man and a woman. It is a common type of virus with few symptoms that is easily spread. The presence of some forms of the virus can trigger a number of serious conditions including cervical cancer, so whatever we can do to identify concerns as early as possible, should be encouraged. Additionally we encourage all young women to take up the opportunity of the HPV vaccination, to further protect them in future.

"GPs and many members of the practice team – as well as other sexual health professionals – are trained to conduct cervical screening tests. And advising when a test is and isn't necessary is part of the GP curriculum, which all family doctors must demonstrate competence of in order to practise independently in the UK.

"Cancer is an enduring priority for the RCGP and we have worked with a number of partners, including Cancer Research UK, to develop resources to support GPs and our teams in the early identification, prevention, and treatment of cancer."



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