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maandag 2 oktober 2017

RCGP: Telephone triage can be useful but doesn't necessarily reduce GP workload

Telephone triage can be useful but doesn't necessarily reduce GP workload

She said: "Telephone consultations can be convenient – and they certainly can help direct patients to the most appropriate care for their health needs - but as this research has shown they don't necessarily reduce GP workload in the end as 10 minutes are 10 minutes whether spent speaking to patients over the phone or face-to-face. And, if as a result of the phone conversation follow-up action is needed for that patient, then this actually may increase the GP's workload.

"GPs and our teams are delivering more than 1m patient consultations every day – and recent research shows that our workload has increased 16 per cent over the past seven years. Yet, investment in our service has declined over the last decade and our workforce has not risen in pace with demand.

"It is up to individual practices to decide what appointment booking or triage systems they implement to manage their workload most effectively for that particular patient, but we want to reassure patients that technology will not be replacing the work of GPs.

"GPs are highly trained to take into account the physical, psychological and social factors potentially affecting a patient's health and often these are non-verbal, so phone conversations will never replace face-to-face appointments completely.

"Ultimately, we need the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View – including £2.4bn more a year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more members of the wider practice team by 2020 – delivered in full and as a matter of urgency."

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Health must be top of the agenda during Brexit negotiations says RCGP Chair

"In fact, in terms of workforce this analysis doesn't take into account GPs and practice staff potentially affected by Brexit negotiations, so we are concerned the situation could be far bleaker. The College's own research earlier this year showed that 2,137 GPs across the UK – delivering care to over 3m patients – could be forced to leave if their status is not protected.

"General practice is really struggling – our workload has increased 16% over the last seven years, but investment in our service over the last decade has declined, and our workforce has not risen at pace with demand. We are incredibly grateful to all EU staff currently working in general practice, supporting us to deliver vital care to over 1m patients a day, and we welcome any other appropriately trained doctors or healthcare professionals from the EU and further afield who want to join our profession.

"The NHS was promised an extra £350m a week during the referendum campaign – and whilst this figure has been hotly disputed, this will have influenced many people's vote. Unfortunately, there is no one to hold to account for this, but that does not mean it should be brushed under the carpet.

"We join the paper's authors in calling for health to be top of the agenda during Brexit negotiations – and from the point of view of general practice, we must ensure the status of every EU national working in UK general practice is protected as a matter of urgency, and for efforts to recruit overseas doctors as part of NHS England's GP Forward View, not to be hampered in any way.

"Negotiators must also be very clear that public health must not suffer as a result of Britain exiting the European Union – there are many laws and regulations that have been introduced to protect the health of our nation, and they must not be compromised."

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Peer review tools can be useful - but shouldn't be used to shame practices

"Whilst these tools can be useful for self-reflection and implementing quality improvement initiatives in the best interests of delivering patient care, we must recognise that in many cases, variation in many aspects of care will reflect the specific demographics of a patient population (for example, age, level of deprivation, quality of housing, ethnicity etc) as opposed to ineffective practice.

"Prescription costs are a significant expense for the health service -  and this site also has useful features to help practices understand whether they are using resources in the most cost-effective way. If we can take safe, sensible measures to reduce these costs then we should.

"The current consultation on the NHS use of medicines of 'low priority' is not yet completed and as such we await the conclusions with interest."


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