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maandag 11 september 2017

RCGP: BMA survey results are a call for help, says RCGP Chair

BMA survey results are a call for help, says RCGP Chair

"That practice-list closures on a wide scale are even being considered is an indication of just how pressurised general practice is at the moment – and how downtrodden GPs and our teams across the country are feeling.

"No practice would ever consider closing their list to new patients if they were not seriously concerned about their ability to cope with their increasing workload and deliver care to patients safely.

"The RCGP has shown numerous times over the last few years that nowadays, UK family doctors making 60 patient contacts a day is commonplace – and that they are routinely working intensive 11-hour plus days in clinic. GPs who are fatigued are more likely to make mistakes – so these working conditions are potentially a risk to our patients' safety.

"The results of this survey are a call for help. We need the pledges in NHS England's GP Forward View – including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs – delivered in full, and as a matter of urgency."


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Robust primary care workforce is key to delivering best possible cancer care

"GPs and our teams can certainly empathise with some of the concerns highlighted by our colleagues at Macmillan today. None of us are strangers to intense workload and workforce pressures facing general practice across the country – and the potential impact this has on our patients.

"But it is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs and our teams that we do everything we can not to let these challenges compromise the care we deliver to our patients, particularly those with serious conditions, including cancer.

"GPs are doing a good job of identifying and treating our patients with cancer – 75% of patients found to have cancer are referred after only one or two GP consultations despite many early stage cancers presenting in vague ways. And in the last five years the proportion of cancers diagnosed as an emergency has dropped from 25% to 20%.

"Today's figures should be a wake-up call that it isn't just GPs highlighting the pressures facing our profession – but charities and patients too.

"We desperately 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 - to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency. But we also need better access to new and improved diagnostic tools that can help GPs identify cancers that are more difficult to spot.

"Cancer is an enduring priority for the College, and we have worked with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan to develop resources to support GPs and our teams to deliver the care our patients with cancer need and deserve, at every stage of their illness."


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Technology can be hugely beneficial - but we must not alienate vulnerable patients

"General practice has always been ahead of the game in terms of using technology in order to deliver the best possible patient care – we were the first sector of the health service to implement both electronic patient records, and electronic prescribing. We are also now at a stage where more than 97% GP practices can offer online services, such as the ability to book appointments, or access their medical records.

"Technology can be hugely beneficial for healthcare professionals and patients when used effectively – but new technological initiatives don't suit all patients, and we must be cautious not to alienate vulnerable patients who are perhaps elderly, poor or simply not as tech-savvy.

"We also need to dispel the myth that just because we are using technology to do something, we are also saving resources. To take NHS 111 as an example; we question whether an app, no matter how complex or 'intelligent' the algorithm it uses, is qualified to decide how urgent a patient's health complaint is – so this service will still need to be staffed appropriately and evaluated carefully to ensure that the NHS is getting a quality service that represents real value for money.

"We do welcome the move by Secretary of State to introduce the same rigorous inspection process to independent 'digital doctors' that might offer medical services online or via an app, that is applied to NHS GPs and hospitals. The College has long raised patient safety concerns around services that offer GP virtual consultations for a fee, without necessarily having access to the patient's full medical – and medication – history.

"Technology can be wonderful , but it is essential that any new innovation or scheme is piloted and rigorously evaluated in terms of its benefit to patient care and the wider NHS, before it is rolled out widely."


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