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maandag 26 juni 2017

RCGP: GPs doing very best for new mothers but need more time and resources, says RCGP

GPs doing very best for new mothers but need more time and resources, says RCGP

"But it's incredibly hard for GPs to explore all the physical and psychological factors affecting our patients' health within the time constraints of the consultation as it stands. We need these checks to be much longer as standard, so that we are able to give the same attention to the new mother as we do to the baby – but this needs more resources for our service, and more GPs.

"Unfortunately, offering longer appointments means offering fewer appointments, and our patients are already waiting longer than they should be for routine appointments. We need the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View, including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice, and 5,000 more GPs by 2020, to be implemented as a matter of urgency in order to address this.

"What isn't helpful is using indiscriminate surveys as a stick with which to beat hard working GPs – particularly as people are more likely to report a negative experience than a positive one - when we are doing our very best for patients under such intense resource and workforce pressures.

"It's actually very encouraging that nearly 80% of new mothers were asked about their emotional wellbeing at the six-week check – but perinatal mental health conditions are incredibly complex, and in many cases we have no choice but to rely on women to disclose their problems.

"We know this takes courage, but new mothers should not put off raising any issue with their GP because they think any adverse feelings they are having after pregnancy are 'normal', or because they are worried about the consequences of doing so. We'd like to reassure all our patients that GPs are highly trained to have confidential, non-judgmental conversations about all health issues, including mental wellbeing, and any concerns they share with us will be taken seriously.

"Perinatal mental health is a clinical priority for the College, and we have developed a whole range of resources to support GPs and our teams to deliver the best possible mental health care for our patients during and after pregnancy."


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Warning signal needed in general practice to protect patient safety, says RCGP

She said: "We certainly need some sort of warning signal to sound in general practice when things are getting too much – this is something that the College has been saying for a number of years now.

"Workload in general practice has soared 16% over the last seven years, yet resources for our service have declined, and our workforce hasn't risen in step with growing patient demand.

"Hospitals have 'black alerts' – they don't use them when they don't need to, they only use them when they can't cope, to protect patient safety. We don't have an equivalent in general practice, yet our members tell us that they are routinely working 11-hour intensive days in clinic, and then having to deal with a mountain of urgent paperwork on top; this isn't safe, for the GP or their patients.

"Other safety-critical professions have mechanisms in place to protect them against fatigue – airline pilots, for example, or lorry drivers need to take regular breaks - because when you're fatigued you are more likely to make mistakes, and in general practice, this is a risk to our patients' safety.

"Ultimately, we need NHS England's GP Forward View, including pledges for £2.4bn extra a year, and 5,000 more GPs by 2020, to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency, so that we can continue to deliver safe patient care to over 1m patients in general practice every day."

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Saddening to hear of patient dissatisfaction with NHS care, says RCGP
She said: "It's saddening to hear that so many patients are not satisfied with the services they are now getting from the NHS, particularly as we know how much our patients love the health service, and historically satisfaction rates have been much higher.
"Specifically in general practice, GPs are consistently ranked amongst the most trusted healthcare professionals in the NHS; according to the latest GP Patient Survey over 90% had trust and confidence in the last GP they saw. But we also know that despite our best efforts patients are waiting longer and longer for appointments – and that this is frustrating for GPs and our teams, as well as patients. 
"Workload in general practice has risen 16% over the last seven years according to recent research, but over the same period resources for our service have declined, and our workforce has not risen in step with patient demand.
"What's more, general practice makes the vast majority of patient contact in the NHS, for a small percentage of the overall budget. GPs and our teams keep the rest of the NHS afloat, so when we are under pressure and can't cope this reverberates right across the health service.
"We urgently need NHS England's GP Forward View, including promises for £2.4bn extra a year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more practice team members, to be delivered in full as a priority, so that we can deliver the care our patients need and deserve - and alleviate pressures right across the health service."

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