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vrijdag 11 augustus 2017

RCGP: Labour's analysis of GP access backs up previous College warnings

Labour's analysis of GP access backs up previous College warnings
She said: "This analysis backs up the warnings that the College has been making for some time - that as a result of years of underinvestment in general practice, our patients are finding it increasingly difficult to make a GP appointment.

"Our own analysis of the GP Patient Survey found that patients will be unable to make an appointment with a GP or practice nurse on 100m occasions by 2022 if trends continue.
"This is despite GPs and our teams making more patient consultations a year that ever before - currently over 370m - to meet escalating patient demand.
"This is a clear risk to patient safety – and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"But we must remember that patients can always access urgent GP care when they need to through our routine service, and the GP out of hours service.
"It certainly makes no sense to start offering extra services where there is little patient demand. We know that in many cases, practices have already had to actually stop offering extended opening hours because of a lack of patient demand for them.

"With such scarce resources for our profession and a huge shortage of GPs at the moment, the Government's focus must be on delivering more funding to offer our existing five day service - and sufficient GPs and practice team members to deliver it.

"As we reiterated in our Annual Assessment of NHS England's GP Forward View last week, the pledges of £2.4bn extra a year for our profession and 5,000 more GPs by 2020, should be the lifeline general practice, and our patients, need. This must be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency if it is to protect our profession, the wider NHS, and ensure our patients receive the care they deserve, when they need it."
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More medical school training places welcome - in parallel with efforts to build GP workforce

"We welcomed the plan to increase the number of student places in UK medical schools when it was initially announced last year – and we're pleased to hear that there is now a clear timeframe for it to be implemented.

"We urgently need thousands more doctors – particularly thousands more GPs - to ensure that our NHS has a future workforce able to keep up with escalating patient demand as our population continues to increase and as people live longer. It's reassuring to see a bit more meat on the bones of the plan and that under-doctored areas, for example some rural areas, will specifically benefit – and that attempts will be made to encourage more medical students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

"However, it takes a long time to train a doctor to consultant level – at least ten years in the case of a GP – and we need more family doctors now, so that we can continue to deliver high quality care to over 1m patients a day. We need to see this expansion of medical school places being implemented in parallel with efforts to attract more of our existing medical students and foundation doctors into general practice, to retain our existing GP workforce, and to make it easier for trained GPs who have left the profession to return to practice.

"NHS England's GP Forward View pledges 5,000 more GPs by 2020, but our latest analysis shows that they are falling short on this commitment and that actual numbers have gone down since September last year. This needs to be reversed – we need the GP Forward View pledges, including £2.4bn extra a year and 5,000 more GPs, to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency, to ensure our patients continue to get the quality care they need and deserve."


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RCGP sounds caution over buying Viagra online

She said: "Awareness of sildenafil – which is widely known as Viagra – and its medical usage for treating erectile dysfunction has certainly increased over the last decade. It has also come 'off licence', making it cheaper. Both factors may account for some of the increase in prescriptions over the last few years.

"But this increase in prescribing could also indicate significantly reduced stigma of discussing erectile dysfunction, and so more men who suffer from the condition are feeling comfortable enough to visit their GP or another healthcare professional for medical assistance. Erectile dysfunction, as well as being a physical condition, can also have a very real effect on our patients' mental health – so this is a good thing.

"It's interesting to note that the increase in prescriptions has slowed down over the last year – which could indicate that Viagra or its alternatives are becoming more widely and readily available off-prescription, including online. 

"Buying medication online might seem convenient – and it might be attractive to patients who are embarrassed to discuss medical problems with their doctor in person – but it isn't without risk, particularly if people are using websites that haven't been verified by the General Medical Council and Care Quality Commission. 

"Firstly, there is no way for someone to know what they are buying is what they think it is, and this in itself can have profound consequences. But, even if the sildenafil is genuine, it is a powerful drug, which if taken inappropriately can have serious side-effects. There are a number of medical reasons why the drug would not be prescribed – for example, if a patient has a heart or liver problem, or if they have low blood pressure.

"GPs follow strict guidelines when prescribing generic sildenafil – and they will only issue an NHS prescription if there is one of a list of specific medical reasons to do so, but we do also issue private prescriptions if the condition does not meet the criteria for NHS treatment, or for branded sildenafil such as Viagra, if this is the patient's preference. It is also worth noting that erectile dysfunction is not the only medical condition that sildenafil can be used to treat. 

"GPs and other prescribers in the community are highly trained to take into account physical, psychological and social factors when treating a patient, and will only prescribe drugs if it suits the unique health needs of the person sitting in front of them. They will also be able to ensure that the drugs work safely in combination with other medications that the patient may be using. Unverified websites won't be as discerning."



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