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zondag 23 juli 2017

RCGP: Safe, sensible measures to reduce NHS prescription costs should be encouraged, says RCGP

Safe, sensible measures to reduce NHS prescription costs should be encouraged, says RCGP

"Our population is growing and ageing, and our patients' needs are changing rapidly, so we are already thinking about different ways of working - and that means looking right across the health service. The College is keen to work with NHS England and equivalent bodies in the devolved nations to make this a success.

"Prescription costs are a significant expense for the health service, and so if we can take safe, sensible measures to reduce these costs then we should. 

"We know that a number of treatments are of little or no value, and are at best a placebo. We also know many other medications are available very cheaply over the counter and are much more readily obtainable than when they first became available on prescription, and both GPs and the public should be mindful of this.

"If patients are in a position that they can afford to buy over the counter medicines and products, then we would encourage them to do so rather than request a prescription – but imposing blanket policies on GPs, that don't take into account demographic differences across the country, or that don't allow for flexibility for a patient's individual circumstances, risks alienating the most vulnerable in society. 

"NHS England assure us that this won't be the case, but whatever cost saving measures are floated, it remains paramount that NHSE's GP Forward View, which pledges £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5000 more GPs by 2020, is implemented as a matter of urgency."

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RCGP announces new Honorary Secretary

This is the first time the role has been undertaken as a job share, and they will succeed Professor Nigel Mathers at the College's Annual General Meeting in November when he stands down.

The role was contested by three candidates – Dr Sunil Bhanot, Dr Jonathan Leach and Dr Victoria Tzortiou Brown (as a job share), and Dr Imran Rafi.

The Honorary Secretary leads on the development of College governance and leads on all College consultations. 

Dr Leach is currently Chair of the RCGP's Midland Faculty. Dr Tzortiou Brown is Chair of London Faculties. They will serve a four-year term, until November 2021.

RCGP Acting Chief Executive and Returning Officer, Dr Valerie Vaughan-Dick, said: "This is a hugely important role for the College. Jonathan and Victoria both have an excellent knowledge of the RCGP, and both encapsulate the visions and values of the College, recently set out in our strategic plan for 2017-2020.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Nigel for his years of service to the College, not just as Honorary Secretary, but in his many roles beforehand, and I wish him the best of luck in his retirement. I'd also like to thank all nominees for standing and making this a fair, democratic election."


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Patients set to wait at least a week to see GP or practice nurse on over 100m occasions by 2022

The College's new figures reveal that if current trends continue, the number of instances when patients will have to wait a week or more to see a GP will rise more than 20m over five years, from 80m in 2016/2017 to 102m in 2021/22.

Further analysis by the College, of the GP Patient Survey, published earlier this month, shows that the situation across England is also patchy, with patients in some areas facing much worse GP access than others.

In 21 Clinical Commissioning Group areas, covering 5.6m patients, patients wait at least a week for an appointment with their GP or practice nurse more than a quarter of the time.

Some of the worst areas to secure a timely GP appointment include Corby (36%), Fareham and Gosport (34%), Swindon (31%) and Central London (Westminster) (31%) where currently over three in 10 of patients wait a week or more for an appointment with their family doctor or practice nurse.

Even at the other end of the scale, where access is better, there are still thousands of patients waiting a week or more for an appointment. In Bradford City, for example, where access to general practice is best (9%), there is still one in ten patients waiting.

The RCGP says that this as a case of national concern and if the situation does not improve it is a genuine risk to patient safety.

Workload in general practice has risen 16% over the last seven years according to recent research, yet investment in the service has declined over the same period, and the GP workforce has gone down since last year.

NHS England's GP Forward View, launched in April last year, made over 100 pledges, including an extra £2.4bn each year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more members of the wider practice team – but the College is concerned that this is not being delivered as quickly as GPs, and patients, need them.

The College is calling on the Government once again to deliver on the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View as a matter of urgency, to ensure that patients get the timely, quality care they need, when they need it.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Our patients should be able to see a GP when they need to, so we're highly concerned that patients are finding it so difficult to make an appointment, and that in so many cases they have had to wait more than a week to see a GP. This is a clear risk to patient safety – and if nothing is done soon, it is clear that this is set to get worse.

"If these patients can't secure an appointment with their GP when they need one, it's probable that they will return at some point to another area of the NHS, when their condition may have worsened, and where their care will cost the health service significantly more – something which could've been avoided if they'd been able their GP in the first instance.

"GPs and our teams are now making more patient consultations than ever before - over 370m each year - and with workload continuing to escalate, and with continuing resource and workforce pressures, the worrying outcome is that we will be unable to see all our patients who need to be seen.

"The GP Forward View could be the lifeline general practice, and our patients, need. But we need it delivered, in full, and as a matter of urgency, if it is to have a chance at protecting our profession, the wider NHS, and ensuring our patients receive the care they need and deserve." 


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